Master Timeline

For “How the Green Line Came to Crown Hill”


A background reference work

for a public art installation at the northern terminus of the Green Line

Monorail in Seattle. My commission was cancelled and the Green Line may never

be built due to general incompetence on the SMP Board. Seattle voters will probably

get their fifth chance to vote on it in November 2005, after having

already approved the idea four times.


Compiled by James Koehnline from diverse sources.

Last revised August 14, 2005.


Please email corrections, comments, suggestions and additions to:




560 million years ago

Plants absorb solar energy and use it to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and carbohydrates such as sugar, starch and cellulose; these carbohydrates and other organic materials eventually settle on the ground and in stream, lake and sea beds and, as they become more deeply buried, are transformed by heat and pressure into solid, liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons known as fossil fuels.


40-17 million years ago

The Cascade Mountains are formed. The Olympic Mountains appear as islands in the Pacific.


17-6 million years ago

Floods of lava cover the Columbia Basin and destroy the Columbia River waterway.


6 million - 10,000 years ago

Washington's Ice Age. Volcanos form in the Cascades and huge glaciers cover the mountains and Puget Sound. Floods shape the southern part of the state.


80,000-60,000 years ago

Homo sapiens most likely emerged in Africa in this period. They quickly fanned out to Australia and Central Asia about 50,000 years ago and arrived in Europe only about 40,000 years ago, according to prevailing hypotheses.


77,000 years ago

Geometric carvings on stones (found 2002) and pierced-shell beads (found 2004), in Blombos Cave in South Africa, date to this time. They are the oldest human artifacts yet discovered.


50,000 years ago    

Cro-magnon man considers the horse a source of food.


Topper, South Carolina archeological dig (2004) suggests human presence in North America at this time. Very controversial.


30,000 years ago

Ivory horse, oldest known animal carving, from mammoth ivory, discovered near Vogelherd, Germany


14,000 B.C.E.    

The earliest known fossils of domestic dogs date to this time. They were found in Germany. It is impossible to know the nature and extent of human-animal partnerships up until this time, but they surely existed.


13,000 B.C.E.

Earliest evidence of the mammoth-hunting Clovis People (also known as paleo-Indians), first people in the Americas – or at least that has been the prevailing theory since Clovis dig in New Mexico, 1936.


11,000 B.C.E.

People of the Clovis Culture inhabit the Northwest


9300 B.C.E.           

Clovis people hunt the pony-sized Equus conversidens horse.


8000 B.C.E.           

The American horse, Equus conversidens becomes extinct, possibly through a combination of environmental change and overhunting.


6,700 B.C.E.

Mount Mazama erupts


6,400 B.C.E.

Kennewick Man lives.  One of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas, found in Kennewick, Washington in 1996.


6000 B.C.E.

Egyptian rock drawings show earliest known depictions of ships.


5500-3500 B.C.E.

The wheel may have been invented in this timeframe in Mesopotamia (Iraq), although some propose an earlier date in Asia.


Already, one of civilization’s most important power sources has been developed – an essential beast of burden in human history, the human slave. The amount of energy needed to accomplish a given job is measured in slave-power, instead of horsepower.


4500 B.C.E.

Sailing ships are made in Mesopotamia.


4500-4000 B.C.E.       

Horses are domesticated in the Ukraine and Central Asia. Nomadic tribes probably gained experience with sheep, goats and/or reindeer (domesticated caribou) before attempting to herd horses. They provided meat and milk, their hides were used to make tents and clothes, and the manure could be dried to make fires. Eventually people learned to tame and ride them.


4000 B.C.E.

Petroleum used in Egypt for medicine and lamp oil


Oldest known woven cloth.


3500 B.C.E.

Animals pull wheeled vehicles in Mesopotamia. For thousands of years and many great civilizations, horses are reserved for warfare, transport and sport. Oxen (trained cattle) are used for agriculture and general labor.


In Sumer and Elam, the start of pictographic writing.


Oar-powered (slave-powered) ships sail the seas.


Earliest known paved streets (cobblestone) at Ur.


The American camelids (llamas and alpacas), the only beasts of burden native to the western hemisphere, are domesticated in the central Andes.


3300 B.C.E.

Earliest potter’s wheel that has been found - Mesopotamia


3000 B.C.E.

Egypt develops hieroglyphic writing.


People light the night with candles.


In Sumer, the first known written legend, Gilgamesh, a Noah's ark tale.


Stonehenge is built.


2750 B.C.E

First recorded expedition of exploration launched from Egypt.


2500 B.C.E.

Polynesians begin their migration throughout the South Pacific around this time


2000 B.C.E.

Earliest known use of wheels with spokes, Egypt


Egypt runs a government courier system.


Elephants are domesticated in the Indus Valley.


1500 B.C.E.

Pulley first used


Glass making invented.


1400 B.C.E.

Wheels used in Europe, possibly without knowledge of their development in the Near East.


1345 B.C.E.            

The horsemaster of Hittite king Suppililiuma, Kikkuli, begins a warhorse training regime. The Kikkuli method of training is extremely detailed and allows the Hittites to have fit horses for the war season.


1300 B.C.E.

First entirely alphabetic writing, 30 Ugaritic cuneiform symbols on tablets.


In modern-day Syria, musical notation.


1200 B.C.E.

Camel domesticated by fully nomadic Arabian Desert tribes (Bedouin).


Egyptians use pigeons for military communication.


1000 B.C.E.

Chinese using coal as fuel


The Chinese begin to fly kites.


In Greece a goat herder discovered flames shooting from cracks in the rocks in a place called Mount Parnassus. Believing the fire to be of divine origin, local residents built a temple around the flame. The temple housed a priestess known as the Oracle of Delphi who issued prophecies she said were inspired by the flame.


Stone yo-yos in Greece.


900 B.C.E.

China's Zhou Dynasty has an organized postal service for government use.


Beacon fires and smoke signals are used in China.


753 B.C.E.

Estimated founding of Rome; start of the Roman calendar.


650 B.C.E.

Olmecs, a pre-Mayan people, invent first writing system in Americas.


625 B.C.E.

First known use of asphalt for roads – Babylon.


600 B.C.E.

In Ninevah, a map of the known world, carved on clay tablet.


530 B.C.E.

In Athens, a public library.


510 B.C.E.

Scylax explores India, Arabia, and northern Afghanistan for the Persian empire.


500 B.C.E.

The Chinese discovered natural gas seeping to the surface and built crude pipelines of bamboo to transport gas to the ocean where it was burned to boil seawater separating the salt out and leaving drinkable water.


Hanno travels down the northwestern coast of Africa. Expedition recorded by Greeks. Himilco travels to England and establishes tin trade.


Greek telegraph: trumpets, drums, shouting, beacon fires, smoke, mirrors.


Persia has a form of pony express.


400 B.C.E.

Earliest known reference to the use of water wheels for milling grain, Greece


The golden age of Greek culture produces unmatched writings.


Xenophon, a Greek, writes the first fully preserved manual on horse riding, entitiled "The Art of Horsemanship". He suggests owners should learn about their horse’s psyche.


4th century B.C.E.

Greeks add England and India to their maps


The Chinese invent the first rotary, aerodynamic device, a toy that children sail through the air.


390 B.C.E.

Gauls sack Rome, destroying all records. Only legends remain.


386 B.C.E.

Plato founds the Academy


360 B.C.E.

A hollow model of a pigeon suspended by a string over a flame is made to move by steam issuing from small exhaust ports (described by Aulus Gellius in "Noctes Atticaes" (Attic Nights)


Aristotle mentions the use of a sort of air-supply diving bell in his Problemata.


356-323 B.C.E.           

Alexander the Great develops a close friendship with his horse, Bucephalus


340 B.C.E.

Aristotle's logic; it will be a source of knowledge for more than 2,000 years.


335 B.C.E.

Aristotle founds his academy, the Lyceum.


332 B.C.E.

Alexander the Great, in his famous siege of Tyre (Lebanon), uses demolition divers to remove underwater obstacles from the harbor. It is reported that Alexander himself made several dives in a crude bell to observe the work in progress.


300 B.C.E.

Toothed wheels for transmission of power attributed to Archimedes.


Euclid's Elements explain geometry.


295 B.C.E.

The great library at Alexandria is founded. Euclid teaches there.


280 B.C.E.

Aristarchus of Samos conceives of a heliocentric universe.


270 B.C.E.

Kleisbios founds science of hydraulics.


250 B.C.E.

The zero appears for the first time, in Babylonian place-value system.


Archimedes, Greek mathematics and developments of basics of physics and mechanics - water snail and endless screw.


220 B.C.E.

Archimedes, Sicilian geometrician, leaves records of his many inventions.


200 B.C.E.

Hero of Alexandria describes a simple rotary steam engine, possibly devised by Cestesibus.


Greek scientist Eratosthenes accurately measures size of the Earth.


105 B.C.E.

In Alexandria, the first college of technology is founded.



1st century A.D.

Chinese invent first compass.



Rome sets up network of relay runners carrying messages 50 miles in a day.



The wheelbarrow is invented by the Chinese.



Pliny the Elder mentions the use of air hoses by divers.



Pliny the Elder dies after compiling the known science of his time.



In Roman mines slaves tread the mill both to pump water and to raise ore.


Roman couriers carry government mail across the empire.


Antikythera Mechanism: apparently an astronomical calculator, Greece.



Supposed date for Chinese eunuch Ts'ai Lun's invention of paper



Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus A.D. 90 - 168) of Egypt, a mathematician and astronomer who works in Alexandria, builds the foundations of cartography. He invents a number of projections whereby an area on the curved surface of the Earth can be represented on a flat surface.



Horseshoes invented in Germany.



Device found in Iraq, dating to approximately this time, seems to be an electric battery. Even older copper vases have been found that appear to have been electroplated with silver.



The start of Western monasticism will keep learning alive in Christian Europe.



The first school in England, at Canterbury.


600 -1000

The horse is used for a multitude of purposes throughout the Middle Ages, including war, leisure, tournaments, carrying messages, and agriculture.



Windmill invented, Persia.



Moors invade Spain, bringing learning and advanced culture.



Caliph Haroun-el-Raschid establishes a paper factory in Baghdad, with Chinese workmen.



Charlemagne encourages a revival of learning, the "Carolingian Renaissance."



In Baghdad, "House of Knowledge" preserves ancient Greek scientific writing.



The Chinese use some form of gunpowder in making fireworks to celebrate religious festivals.



A Moorish doctor attaches wings and feathers to his body to make the first glider flight in Andalusia, Spain.



China's Tang Dynasty has courier system with more than 1,600 stations.



Chinese government introduces paper money.



Leif Eriksson discovers North America.


Reading stone invented -- a glass sphere that magnified when laid on top of reading materials.


Murasaki Shikabu's Tale of Genji, is the world's first novel.



Paper recycled in Japan.



Pi Sheng, a Chinese commoner, fabricates movable type using clay.



Astrolabes arrive in Europe from the East.



The Domesday Book, census of people and property, reveals life in England.



First Crusade



Persian mathematician Omar Khayyam dies after writing the Rubáiyát.



Paper made in Egypt using recycled mummy-wrappers.



First use of explosives in war, by China.



Map of western China is the oldest known printed map.



Oxford University is founded.



Fixed steering rudder in China (first control mechanism).



The University of Paris is granted its charter, starts mail, messenger service.


French Dominicans begin the Inquisition to snuff out heresy.



Turkish mechanical genius, Al-Jazari, produces most important engineering text to date, describing over 50 innovative devices in minute detail, including water clocks and pumps.



The Magna Carta sets limits on a king's power.



First coal is mined in Newcastle, England.



Koreans use movable metal type.



Roger Bacon, an English Franciscan monk, produces a secret formula for "gunpowder": saltpetre 41.2; charcoal 29.4; sulphur 29.4. To achieve a faster rate of burning, Bacon distills saltpeter -- the oxygen producing ingredient.



Paper mill in Genoa, Italy.



Roger Bacon builds a camera obscura to show optical illusions.



Roger Bacon's On Experimental Science supports inductive reasoning.



Marco Polo journeys to China establishing the overland trade route. He leaves China in 1292 and three years later arrives home.



Free daily newspapers and mass-circulation booklets in China.



Al-Hasan al-Rammah, a Syrian military historian, describes rockets (Chinese arrows) and recipes for making gunpowder in "The Book of Fighting on Horseback and With War Engines."



Italian, Salvino D'Armate, is credited with inventing the first wearable eye glasses.



French astronomer Guillaume de Saint Cloud describes concept of a camera.



Belt driven spinning wheel



Taxis family begins private postal service in Europe.


1309 First known use of paper in England



Invention of sawmill spurs shipbuilding.



Guido da Vigevano designs a wind-driven vehicle - a windmill type drive to gears and thus to wheels. Never built.


Clocks in Europe.



In France, mathematician Levi ben Gershon writes theory of photography.



Anne of Bohemia popularizes the sidesaddle style of riding for ladies.



Geoffrey Chaucer writes The Canterbury Tales.



Admiral Cheng Ho begins his voyages for Emperor Chu Ti. The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne rules the South Pacific and Indian Ocean until 1433.



Ptolemy's geography is introduced in Europe.



Possible date of Johnannes Gutenberg's first printing effort.



Newsletters begin circulating in Europe


Africans carry culture with them as 400 years of slave exports to West begins.



Gutenberg uses press to print poem and Papal indulgences.


Invention of the printing press spurs wide distribution of navigation tables and ship plans. Ptolemy's geography is published and widely accepted.



Host of mechanical inventions by Leonardo da Vinci.



Mehmet II conquers Constantinople.



Gutenberg publishes the Bible.



Dante's epic poem, The Divine Comedy, is printed.



German astronomer "Regiomontanus" is the first to use printing for science.



Caxton produces first book printed in English.



Mainspring invented by Peter Hele, or Henlein, a locksmith of Nurnburg. About this time the small domestic, or table clock made its appearance.


Leonardo da Vinci begins documenting his aerodynamic theories and ideas for flying machines.




German map-maker Martin Behaim constructs the first globe.


Columbus sets sail.


1493- 1519                   

Explorers for Spain, such as Christopher Columbus, and Herando Cortez, re-introduce the horse to the Americas. These explorers record that indigenous Americans have never seen horses and are both in terror and awe of the animal.



John Cabot sights "new found land" while searching for Northwest Passage.



Map shows the New World, called America, as separate continent.



The first watch was made at about this time.



England begins construction of double-deck warships.



Trithemius produces first printed Western book on cryptology.



Magellan begins his journey to circumnavigate the world with five ships and 270 men


Leonardo da Vinci dies after lifetime of incomparable art and inventive writing.



April 27, Magellan killed by natives in the Philippines.



September 6, eighteen of Magellan's crew and one ship return.



Sack of Rome



First Frankfurt Book Fair



Guglielmo de Loreno developed what is considered to be a true diving bell.



A newspaper is printed: the Gazetta in Venice.



Gerardus Mercator goes into business as globe and map maker.



Pacific Northwest claimed by Spain


Nicolas Copernicus' On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres places sun at the center of our universe.



Pope Paul IV issues Index of Forbidden Books



In Italy, the camera obscura shrinks from room-sized to portable.


Legalized, regulated private postal systems grow in Europe.



Screw cutting lathe by Jacques Besson



Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England. He circumnavigates the globe.



The Washington coast sighted by Sir Francis Drake and claimed for England



Pendulum principle by Galileo



Gregorian Calendar



Two Dutch eye glass makers, Zaccharias Janssen and son Hans Janssen, experimented with multiple lenses placed in a tube. The Janssens observed that viewed objects in front of the tube appeared greatly enlarged, creating the forerunner of both the compound microscope and the telescope.



Discovery of Strait of Juan de Fuca claimed by Juan de Fuca



The Globe Theatre is built.



Wind-driven land vehicle invented by Simon Stevin.


William Gilbert's theory tying electricity & magnetism.


Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno burned at the stake for scientific ideas.



Cawdrey's A Table Alphabeticall, first English dictionary.


King James Bible



Solar-powered motor invented by Salomon de Caux


1620 - Cornelis Drebbel, a Dutchman, conceived and built an oared submersible (the first successful submarine). He conducted several series of trips below the surface of the Thames River which lasted many hours.



Slide rule by William Oughtred



Wilhelm Schickard's calculating clock, a forerunner to the computer.



Beaumont designs and builds wagon roads for English coal mines using heavy planks on which horses pulled carts and wagons.


Boston: first publicly operated ferryboat in America.



Galileo writes his Dialogo for the public in support of Copernicus.



Galileo recants during Inquisition trial, is sentenced to lifetime house arrest.



Harvard University is founded.



René Descartes' Discourse on Method is turning point to modern philosophy.



In Boston, Richard Fairbanks' tavern named repository for overseas mail.



Puritans ship a printing press to the American colonies.



Calculating machine invented by Blaise Pascal



Athanasius Kircher, a German Jesuit scientist, builds a magic lantern to project images.



First Russian ice slide thrill rides – inspiration for the roller coaster (1817).



Leipzig has the first daily newspaper.


First air pump by Von Guericke


Slide rule invented by Gunter and Oughtred.



Parisians can put their postage-paid letters in mail boxes.



The first cuckoo clocks made in Furtwangen in Germany's Black Forest



Blaise Pascal invents a horse-drawn public bus with a regular route, schedule, and fare system.


Mass-production of the pencil.



English physicist, Robert Hooke, looked at a sliver of cork through a microscope lens and noticed some "pores" or "cells" in it.



Isaac Newton explains his calculus.


Robert Boyle explains temperature-pressure-volume relations in gases.


Isaac Newton publishes his physical laws.



John Milton's Paradise Lost. He is paid £10.



Pendulum suspension spring introduced by William Clement. The first known clock with anchor excapement made by William Clement.



The first post rider is dispatched to connect New York and Boston and to provide mail service.



Van Leeuwenhoek refines the microscope, inventing new methods for grinding and polishing microscope lenses that greatly improved magnification and clarity, He sees and describes protozoa for the first time.


The first portable watches appear in Germany and France around this time


Greenwich Observatory is established to set a standard time


Olaus Romer, a German astronomer, measures the speed of light



The concentric minute hand, with motion work similar to that in use today, was used by Daniel Quare, a famous London maker and others. Daniel Quare also made repeating watches about this time. The Second Hand is introduced.



Experimental internal combustion engine using gunpowder by Christian Huygens



Robert Hooke lays out plan for visual telegraph; no one tries it.



Newton's Principia Mathematica, arguably the greatest scientific book of all time.



Abraham Thevart casts the first plate glass



First US newspaper, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign & Domestick, printed in Massachusetts



Denis Papin of France develops the first steam-powered vacuum pump



Edmund Halley (of Halley's Comet fame) patented a diving bell which was connected

by a pipe to weighted barrels of air that could be replenished from the surface.



Thomas Savery invents a steam-powered pump in England



Abraham Darby uses coke to smelt iron ore, replacing wood and charcoal as fuel



Florence harpsichord maker Bartolommeo Cristofori invents the piano.



The Newcomen steam engine invented.



The Board of Longitude is established in England to promote the discovery of a means of determining the longitude of ships at sea



Gabriel Fahrenheit of Germany invents a mercury thermometer with a temperature scale


First typewriter patented by Henry Mill in England



John Letherbridge invents the first waterproof diving suit



A signaling rocket is developed in Russia that can reach an altitude of several hundred meters.



 Bouchon uses perforated paper tape to control loom.



Stephen Gray of England discovers the principle of electrical conduction



In Philadelphia, Ben Franklin starts a circulating library.


Franklin begins publication of Poor Richard's Almanack. It will run until 1758.



John Kay invents the flying shuttle.



Harrison develops his first chronometer to help determine the longitude of ships at sea.


Charles Marie discovers rubber in South America.



Jacques de Vaucanson begins six-year career as a creator of amazing automatons, after which he tries to automate the textile industry in France, against stiff resistance. He invents a punch-card system for automating looms, fifty years before Jacquard does the same with more success.


Vaucanson's mechanical flute player



Vaucanson's mechanical duck



New York--reputed first American use of ox carts for carrying of passengers.


Jacques de Vaucanson demonstrates his clockwork-powered carriage.



Russian explorers reach Alaskan islands and coast and trade with native peoples for sea otter pelts.



E. J. von Kleist invents the "Leyden jar," later known as a capacitor, for short-term storage of electricity



Benjamin Franklin performs his experiments confirming that lightning is a form of electricity



In France, Denis Diderot produces first volume of an encyclopedia.



First steam engine arrives in the colonies from England.



Mikhail Lomonosov suggests a coaxial rotor machine to raise meteorological instruments and develops a small coaxial rotor.



First steam engine in America is installed to pump water from a mine.



An Act of Parliament establishes the Middleton Railway in Leeds. Thus the Middleton claims to be the oldest Railway in the world (originally horse-powered).



Roller skates are invented by Joseph Merlin.



The British Stamp Act taxes newspapers, documents angers American colonists.



First edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica



James Watt patents a series of improvements on the Newcomen engine making it more efficient.


Nicholas Cugnot in France invents the first steam-powered vehicle, with three wheels.



Electric battery invented by John Cuthbertson.


Pierre Jaquet-Droz and his son Henri-Louis, of Switzerland, present their truly remarkable automatons -- the writer, the draftsman and the musician -- to an astounded audience.


von Kempelen's mechanical Turk



Luigi Galvani of Italy produces current electricity


 A Frenchman named Freminet produces a crude brass diving helmet with eye holes. Air is supplied by a bellows into a small air reservoir, then pumped down to the diver.



December: The Boston Tea Party in America.


The first cast-iron bridge is built in Shropshire, England.



Juan Perez commands the first Spanish expedition to explore the Northwest Coast and sights the Olympic Mountains


Scotsman James Watt builds first "modern" stationary steam engine.


Joseph Priestley and Karl Scheele independently discover oxygen.



Bruno de Hezeta lands on the Washington coast and claims the area for Spain. On his return south, he sees the mouth of the Columbia River.


Pierre-Simon Girard invents the water turbine.


Benjamin Franklin is first Postmaster General under Continental Congress



Revolutionary War



English tram road is laid down with cast iron angle bars on timber ties


July 4th: Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence is approved and signed.


England, July 4th: King George writes in his diary, “Nothing of importance happened today.”


Tom Paine stirs the colonists with his pamphlet "Common Sense."


First authenticated attack by military submarine -- American Turtle vs. HMS Eagle, New York harbor.



James Cook (British) explores and charts the Northwest Coast.



Wanting to win the St. Petersburg annual competition initiated by the Imperial Academy of Sciences, the churchman Abbot Mical made two extraordinarily ingenious automatons -- heads that were able to pronounce a certain number of sentences in French. He won.



Hot-air balloon invented and flown by Montgolfier brothers in France


James Watt invents the double-acting rotary steam engine



Parachute invented.


Hydrogen balloon invented by Jacques Charles and the Robert brothers.


Luigi Galvani develops the first electric cell from two strips of metal and the fluids from a dissected frog, and determines the energy must proceed from the frog.



Gen. Jean Baptiste Marie Meusnier designs an elliptical balloon powered by hand-turned propellers



Stagecoaches carry the mail between towns in the United States.


The first balloon crossing of the English channel


Power loom by Edmund Cartwright



Nail making machine by Ezekial Reed


Automatic flour-mill factory design by Oliver Evans



James Rumsey designs the first mechanically driven (steam) boat.


Jeremy Bentham's famous Panopticon envisions an economically self-sufficient prison on the model of a slave labor camp that supported itself through internal factories worked by the inmates. Those inmates included children; the factories would be powered by mechanisms attached to the children's seesaws, swings, and merry-go-rounds, translating play into work.


1788 - John Smeaton, an American, creates the first truly modern diving bell.



George Washington is elected the first president of the United States.


The French National Assembly votes the Declaration of the Rights of Man.


Samuel Osgood, first Postmaster General under Constitution



Pulley block automatic manufacturing line by Brunel



In the new United States, the Bill of Rights, with freedom of faith, speech, press.


Tom Paine defends the French Revolution in The Rights Of Man.



Robert Gray (American) names the Columbia River after his ship.


George Vancouver (British) explores and names Puget Sound and Lieutenant William Broughton explores the Columbia River up to Point Vancouver.


Spain establishes the first non-Indian settlement in Washington at Neah Bay.


George Cayley builds a twin-rotor helicopter model.


William Murdock of Cornwall, England, uses coal gas lighting in his home.



Cotton gin by Eli Whitney


Francois Blanchard conducts the first balloon flight in the US, carrying first piece of airmail.



The French government forms the first air force, the Compagnie d'Aeronautiers


The French direct ground operations entirely from a balloon at the Battle of Fleurus.



Joseph Bramah, of Piccadilly, England, patents the application of a paddlewheel to the stem of a vessel, driven by a steam engine.


Swiss watchmaker Antoine Favre describes his idea for what we now call the cylinder music box.


Food canning by Appert



Continuous paper manufacture by Nicolas-Louis Robert



From the French Academy of Science, the metric system.




The horse in the Americas becomes the center of urban life, but is also important in the effort to settle the west and cultivate the virgin soil.



Alessandro Volta develops the electric battery.


Inaugural voyage on the Erie Canal announced by a line of cannons firing.


Letter from Portland, Maine takes only 20 days to reach Savannah, Georgia.



Joseph Jacquard (French) - textile loom driven by wooden punch cards



Oliver Evans builds his first steam-powered boat, weight: 4,000 lbs.


Matthew Murray of Leeds, England invents a steam locomotive which runs on timber rails. This is probably the FIRST RAILROAD ENGINE. Seen by Richard Trevithick before he builds his.


Richard Trevithick of Cornwall builds 40 psi steam locomotive for the Welsh Penydarran Railroad.


J.B. Biot and Joseph Gay-Lussac rise 13,000 feet and make scientific observations from a balloon. Later sets an altitude record for a balloon flight of 23,000 feet.



Lewis and Clark enter Washington and stay at Fort Clatsop on the south side of the mouth of the Columbia River



The very first passenger train ran from Swansea to Mumbles on March 25th.


Robert Fulton begins steamboat service on the Hudson River.


Coal gas first used to light streetlamps in London, England.


Patent for gas-driven automobile awarded to Isaac de Rivez.



David Thompson charts the Columbia River



Sir George Cayley constructs the first real airplane -- a glider five feet long with wings and a tail.



Carbon arc lamp by Humphrey Davy


Cayley successfully flies a glider with a total wing area of 172 square feet.



The Northwest Company establishes Spokane House, a fur-trading company.


An electro-chemical telegraph is constructed in Germany.


Cayley publishes On Aerial Navigation, laying out the basis for the study of Aerodynamics.


George Medhurst of London publishes pamphlet proposing transport of mail and freight via pneumatic tubes at speeds of up to 1000 mph.



John Jacob Astor builds Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River as part of his Pacific Fur Company.


New York--first mechanically operated (steam-powered) ferryboat.


Nottingham, England: Luddite riots will forever give a name to opponents of advances in technology.



The first commercially successful steam locomotives, using the Blenkinsop rack and pinion drive, commenced operation on the Middleton Railway. This was the world's first regular revenue-earning use of steam traction, as distinct from experimental operation.


Steam-powered cylinder printing press by Friedich Konig



War of 1812



Englishman William Hedley builds and patents 50 psi railroad loco which could haul 10 coal wagons at 5 mph, equal to 10 horses.


Congress authorizes steamboats to carry mail.


Can opener invented



The British Royal Military Academy in Woolwich publishes "A Treatise on the Motion of Rockets" by William Moore. The work includes a mathematical description of rocket trajectories, including their movement in air and in vacuum



Englishman George Stephenson builds Blucher, his first railway engine. Pulls 30 tons at 4 mph, but is not efficient.


In England, a steam-powered press prints the Times, 1100 copies an hour.



Stephenson's second engine: 6 wheels and a multitubular boiler.


John Loudon McAdam (Scotsman, born 1756) designs roads using broken stones laid in symmetrical, tight patterns and covered with small stones to create a hard surface, called “macadam roads”. Later road-builders add coal tar as a binder, and call it tarmacadam, or tarmac.



Ronalds' prototype electric telegraph.



Baron von Drais invented a walking machine that would help him get around the royal gardens faster: two same-size in-line wheels, the front one steerable, mounted in a frame which you straddled. The device was propelled by pushing your feet against the ground, thus rolling yourself and the device forward in a sort of gliding walk.


The prison treadmill invented in England by Sir William Cubit. Forty-four prisons in England adopted it as a form of hard labor that could also grind grain.


First roller coasters - France


Alexander Zasyadko's book, dated 1817, becomes the first Russian production and application manual for battlefield missiles.



United States and Great Britain agree to joint occupation of the Oregon Territory.


Milling machine by Eli Whitney



Englishman Julius Griffiths patents a passenger road locomotive.


Principle of electric motor described by Michael Faraday.


Natural gas piped through hollow logs to Fredonia, New York.



First attempt by Charles Babbage to create a calculating machine



Monroe Doctrine warns other countries against attempting occupation in U.S. claimed lands.


In England, Ronalds builds a telegraph in his garden; no one is interested.



Bureau of Indian Affairs is set up in the War Department.


Russia sets its southern boundary in the Pacific Northwest at 54 degrees, 40 minutes.


Construction begins on the 1st locomotive workshop in New Castle, England.


Englishman David Gordon patents a steam-driven machine with legs which imitates the action of a horse's legs and feet. Not successful.


The first use of asphalt in road-building - asphalt blocks are placed on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.



Stephenson's 8-ton LOCOMOTION No. 1 built for the Stockton & Darlington Railroad. Capable of pulling 90 tons of coal at 15 mph. Stephenson plans all details of the line, and even designs the bridges, machinery, engines, turntables, switches, and crossings, and is responsible for every part of the work of their construction. (The passenger coaches of this time were all drawn by horses.)


Colonel John Stevens builds a steam waggon which he placed on a circular railway before his house - now Hudson Terrace-at Hoboken, New Jersey.


Hudson's Bay Company establishes forts Vancouver and Colvile on the Columbia


Cheshunt Railway 

The first passenger carrying monorail celebrated a grand opening June 25th, 1825. It had a one-horse power engine...literally. Based on a 1821 patent by Henry Robinson Palmer, the Cheshunt Railway was actually built to carry bricks, but made monorail history by carrying passengers at its opening.


The Russian army employs Zasyadko's rockets for the first time during the Russo-Turkish War.


U.S. postal service creates a dead letter office.


Persistence of vision shown with Thaumatrope, a disk with image on each side.




The first line of rails in the New England States is said to have been laid down at Quincy, Mass., 3 miles in length and pulled by horses.



The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is chartered to run from Baltimore to the Ohio River in Virginia. It was the first westward bound railroad in America. Wind power (sail on carriage) was tried, followed by horse power, with the horse walking on a treadmill which drove the carriage wheels!


The first omnibus (not yet so-called) to operate in America begins running up and down Broadway in New York City. It is owned by Abraham Brower, who also helped organize the first fire department in New York.


John Vallance, of Brighton, England, builds prototype pneumatic tube train, but certain faults in the design lead to it being ridiculed as 'Vallance's Suffocation Scheme.'


Differential calculating machine (difference engine) built by Charles Babbage.


Using a camera obscura, Niépce makes a true photograph on a pewter plate.


Wheatstone constructs a kind of microphone and a kind of image scanner.



Delaware & Hudson Canal Co. builds a railroad from their mines to the termination of the canal at Honesdale. Also pulled by horses.


A “new” type of public transport (see Pascal, 1662), open to everyone, is introduced in France. It is a long coach with seats down each side, called a voiture omnibus, a “carriage for everyone.” In England it becomes omnibus, and then simply ‘bus.


Washington Irving, in his Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus, includes an entirely fictional account of a meeting at which Columbus is lectured on the flat earth. This was a major source of the myth that before Columbus people believed the Earth was flat. Even Daniel Boorstein, in 1983 (The Discoverers), was still propagating this complete falsehood. No one in Irving’s time believed this fiction. In fact Columbus’ difficulties in finding a backer were based on the conviction that he would starve to death before he ever got to Asia.


In Belgium, the Anorthoscope is a forerunner of a motion picture projector.



The first steam locomotive used in America, the English-built Stourbridge Lion, is put to work on the Delaware & Hudson. It is too heavy for the track (twice as heavy as had been promised by the builders), and is laid up next to the tracks as a stationary boiler.


Peter Cooper of New York in 6 weeks time builds the Tom Thumb, a vertical boiler 1.4 HP locomotive, for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. It hauls 36 passengers at 18 mph in August 1830. It has a revolving fan for draught, uses gun barrels for boiler tubes, and weighs less than one ton.


James Wright of Columbia, PA. invents the cone "tread" of the wheel for railroads, which prevents wear of flanges and reduces resistance.


Stephenson's Rocket wins a competition for locomotive power at the Rainhill Trials on the Manchester & Liverpool Railway. Capable of 30 mph with 30 passengers.


George Shillibeer introduces 3-horse omnibus service in London. Others quickly copy him. During rush hours, passengers would scramble onto the roofs of the busses, and by the time of the Great Exposition (1851) stairways and roof seating have become standard.


Louis Daguerre joins Niépce to pursue photographic inventions.


Wheatstone uses punched paper tape to store data.


Louis Braille invents embossed printing for the blind.



William Huskisson becomes first passenger-train death. Killed by Stephenson's Rocket at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.


The Best Friend is built at the West Point Foundery at New York for the Charlston & Hamburg Railroad. It was the first completely American-built steam engine to go into scheduled passenger service. It did excellent work until 1831 when the boiler exploded due to a reckless fireman, unexpectedly ending its, and his career.


Baltimore--first American steam railroad (Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Co.)


Charles Ferson Durant is the first successful American aeronaut and the first to drop leaflets from the sky.


Electric Motor by Joseph Henry


Joseph Jackson Lister reduces spherical aberration or the "chromatic effect" by showing that several weak lenses used together at certain distances gave good magnification without blurring the image. This was the prototype for the compound microscope.



The 3.5 ton De Witt Clinton hauls 5 stage coach bodies on railroad wheels at 25 mph on the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad between Albany and Schenectady. This engine was lightly built, and was retired less than two years after going into service.


The South Carolina was the first eight-wheeled engine.


Robert Stevens, son of Colonel John Stevens, went to England and shipped back (unassembled) the John Bull for the Camden & Amboy Railroad in New Jersey. It was erected by mechanic Isaac Dripps, who had never seen a steam locomotive. There was no assembly manual. He made this the first locomotive fitted with a bell, headlight and cowcatcher, and it remained in service until 1866. Dripps went on to become superintendent of motive power for the Pennsylvania Railroad at Altoona.


Electrical generator by Michael Faraday



The first street railroad in America runs along Bowery Street in New York. It is owned by John Mason, a wealthy banker, and built by Irishman, John Stephenson.  Stephenson's New York company will become the largest and most famous builder of horse-drawn streetcars.


The Brother Jonathon was the first locomotive in the world to have a four-wheel leading truck. Designed by John B. Jervis for the Mohawk & Hudson Railroad.


The American No. 1 was the first 4-4-0, the first of its class. It was capable of regular speeds of 60 mph with its 9.5" by 16" cylinders. Designed by John B. Jervis, Chief Engineer for the Mohawk & Hudson.


The Atlantic on the B&O hauls 50 tons from Baltimore over a distance of 40 miles at 12 to 15 mph. This engine weighed 6.5 tons, carried 50 pounds of steam and burned a ton of anthracite coal on the round trip. The round trip cost $16, doing the work of 42 horses, which had cost $33 per trip. The engine cost $4,500, and was designed by Phineas Davis, assisted by Ross Winans. English locomotives burned bituminous coal.


Phenakistoscope in Belgium and Stroboscope in Austria herald the movies.



George Stephenson applies a small steam brake cylinder to operate brake shoes on driving wheels of locomotives.


A penny buys a newspaper, the New York Sun, opening a mass market.


In Germany, the Weber and Gauss telegraph line runs for nearly two miles.


Sirius (714 tons) makes first wholly steam-powered trip across Atlantic



The Whitman Party, including Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa and also Reverend H. H. Spalding and his wife Eliza set up mission at the junction of the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Their travel route would become known as the Oregon Trail and used by thousands of future settlers.


Antoine-Jean Letronne (1787-1848), in his anti-religious polemic, On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers (1834), misrepresents the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth. Along with Washington Irving’s largely fictional biography of Columbus, this is the genesis of the enduring myth, which is still being included in some textbooks.


Electric motor demonstrated by Thomas Davenport.


Battery powered electric motor by M. H. Jacobi.


Electrolysis by Michael Faraday.


Jacob Perkins obtains the first patent for a refrigerating machine.


The zoetrope, a toy using a rotating drum gives the illusion of movement.



New Orleans--oldest U.S. street railway line still operating (New Orleans & Carrollton line). Second streetcar line opened in America (originally horse-drawn),


In England, W. H. Fox Talbot produces his first photographs.


P.T. Barnum begins his career.


Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America looks at the new country.



Samuel F. B. Morse refines the telegraph.


Charles Green, Thomas Monck, and Robert Hollond set a balloon distance record of 500 miles, flying from London, England, to Weilburg, Germany.



The first electric vehicle (EV) was built in Scotland by Robert Davidson


Wheatstone and Cooke patent an electric telegraph in England.


Samuel Morse exhibits telegraph, but Alfred Vail invents Morse Code.


Daguerre creates daguerreotype, begins photography craze.



Boston: first commuter fares on a U.S. railroad (Boston & West Worcester Railroad)


In the U.S., railroads are officially designated as postal routes.



Vulcanization of rubber by Charles Goodyear.


Edmund Becquerel, the French physicist, discovered the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes placed in an electricity-conducting solution--generation increased when exposed to light.


The first camera manufactured for sale, the Giroux Daguerreotype.


Electricity runs a printing press.


In London, a commercial telegraph line sends messages.



Samuel Cunard begins transatlantic steamship service.


Alexander Bain, an Edinburgh clockmaker, made the first electric clock.


In England, William Hale, develops spin stabilized rockets, by placing three curved metal vanes in the rocket exhaust.


England starts penny post. Stamps sold. It's cheap, so people write more letters.



United States naval expedition, headed by Charles Wilkes, explores Washington



John C. Fremont leads an Army Topographical Corps' Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. He witnesses an eruption of Mt. St. Helens. His maps of this expedition and one the following year, are printed by the government and are widely used by pioneers heading west.


William Henson patents the first design in history for a propeller-driven, fixed-winged plane, the Aerial Steam Carriage.


Horatio Phillips constructs a steam-driven vertical flight machine, the first time that a model helicopter flew powered by an engine


Carbon electrode battery by Bunsen


In England, Alexander Bain demonstrates a crude fax machine.



First large immigration to Oregon occurs and temporary government established


In the U.S., the photographic enlarger.


Byron's daughter, Ada Lovelace, explains concept of computer programming.


Congress gives Morse funds to build an experimental telegraph line.



Gustaf Erik Pasch invents the safety match.


Morse's telegraph connects Washington and Baltimore.


World does not end, disappointing Millerites.



Robert W. Thompson invents the pneumatic tire, but it doesn’t catch on.


Difference Engine is redesigned as Analytical Engine by Babbage (advanced 'computing' experiment).



Treaty between United States and Great Britain sets boundary at 49th parallel.


In Germany, Zeiss begins manufacturing lenses.


Printing telegraph is forerunner of ticker tape.


Sewing machine by Elias Howe



Cayuse Indians attack Whitman Mission in Walla Walla.


Moses Farmer built a two-passenger electric car.


U.S. starts selling postage stamps.


Levi Strauss invents denim jeans


Oregon Territory created


American Association for the Advancement of Science founded.


Spiritualism becomes popular -- communication with the dead.


Alix Gueissaz, begins manufacturing music boxes in Switzerland.



The Austrians attempt the first aerial bombing by launching 200 pilotless, bomb-carrying, hot air balloons.


Cayley builds his first full-sized glider. The 10-year-old son of one of his servants becomes the first person in history to fly on a glider.


Twin-lens camera can take pictures for stereoscopic viewing.




New York: first use of exterior advertising on U.S. street railways.


Pierre Jullien of Villejuif builds and demonstrates a model airship, Le Precurseur, at the Paris Hippodrome. It looks a modern airship.


Submarine cable briefly connects England and France.



First settlers (Denny party) land on the site of Seattle (Alki).


First World’s Fair: Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations, at the Crystal Palace in London


Sewing machine by Isaac Singer



King County is created on December 22, 1852, and is at the time still part of Oregon Territory. It is named for the new Vice President of the United States, William Rufus DeVane King, who died in office shortly thereafter. Seattle is the county seat.


Steam-powered airship invented by Henri Gifford.


Foucault invents the gyroscope.



Washington Territory created.


The Oregon Territory's ban on black settlers does not apply in the newly created Washington Territory. Manuel Lopes, born in CÔte d'Ivoire on the West African coast, is the first black to settle in Seattle.


First American steamboat on Puget Sound.


Seattle's first factory opens - a steam-powered sawmill owned by Henry Yesler.


Sir George Cayley builds and demonstrates the first heavier-than-air aircraft (a glider).


The first practical implementation of pneumatic tube technology was between the Central offices of the Electric and International Telegraph Company and the Stock Exchange in the City of London.


European optical signalling system has 556 stations.



Thomas Mercer names Lake Union, part of his homestead claim, at a July 4 picnic, foreseeing its future role joining salt and fresh water.


Bourseul in France builds an experimental telephone.


George Boole develops logic system that future computers will depend on.



Yakima Indian War



Seattle's first church built.


World’s Fair, Paris


American chemist Benjamin Silliman applies fractional distillation to Pennsylvania rock oil and discovers it produces high-quality lamp oil.


Walla Walla Treaty Council

January 22nd: Treaty of Point Elliott. Tribes including the Duwamish and Suquamish surrender their lands for cash, relocation to reservations, and access to traditional fishing and hunting grounds. Four days later, tribal leaders from Hood Canal and the upper Puget Sound sign a similar agreement at Point-No-Point (near Hansville on the Kitsap Peninsula).


The first land grant railroad in the U. S. is completed. The Illinois Central arrives in Dunleith, Illinois (now East Dubuque).


England: The London General Omnibus Company is formed to consolidate as many London bus proprietors as possible into one organization.


Desjardins Canal Bridge train disaster, Ontario, Canada. 70 dead.


Gasconade Bridge train disaster, St. Louis, Missouri. 30 dead, hundreds injured.


Inventor Leon Scott constructs a device called a phonautograph that records tracings of the vibrations of sound. Precursor to the phonograph.


The stopwatch is invented



Indians attack Seattle


The first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River is completed between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa.


Blast furnace for steel making by Henry Bessemer



Chief Leschi is hanged on February 19 for his military activities during the Treaty War.


The first Northwest railroad, the Cascade Railroad Company, begins operation in the Columbia River Gorge. The Walla Walla and Columbia River Railroad became the second Northwest railroad in 1873.


Mailboxes appear on American streets.


First effort at transatlantic telegraph service fails.


Eraser is fitted to the end of a pencil.



Crown Hill/Loyal Heights area first surveyed


Technique for drilling oil wells invented by Edwin Drake.


The first commercial oil well is drilled by “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake just outside of Titusville, PA.


Eliza Anderson, Seattle's first weekly mail steamer, goes into service.


Internal combustion engine using coal gas invented in France.


Telegraph reaches from Atlantic to Pacific.


Word 'technology' coined


Darwin's The Origin of Species



King County's first Masonic Lodge is organized.


New York: first (failed) attempt to form street railway labor organization



Gold and silver discovered in the Okanogan


The first aerial photographs are taken from a balloon over Paris.



Civil War



The University of Washington opens on land donated by Arthur Denny, at today's University Street and Fourth Avenue.


Elisha Otis establishes a company for manufacturing passenger elevators and patents a steam elevator.


Telegraph brings Pony Express to an abrupt end.


John LaMountain makes the first aerial reconnaissance from an untethered balloon. He ascends from Fort Monroe, Va. and spies on Confederate troops in Newmarket Bridge and Newport News, Va.


Intelligence on Confederate troop movements is telegraphed to Union gunners on the ground from a balloon 1000 feet above Arlington, Va. Union guns are accurately directed to fire on troops the gunners can't see-a first in the history of warfare."


The Union constructs the first aircraft carrier, the George Washington Parke Custis. It is used to tow balloons making observations.


Electric furnace by William Siemens


Kinematoscope by U.S. inventor Coleman Sellers, is a crude movie projector.



U.S. Congress passes the Homestead Act, authorizing 160-acre allotments of unoccupied federal lands to settlers.


President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railway Act, which authorizes the construction of the first transcontinental railroad. Theodore Judah had the vision to build a railroad across the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and then to continue the railroad across the United States. The Central Pacific Railroad was financed by The Big Four: Collis Huntington, Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker and Mark Hopkins.


Jean Lenoir makes a two-stroke gasoline-engine automobile.


American Kerosene reaches England and Russia, making fossil fuels an international commodity.


In Italy, Caselli sends a drawing over a wire.


In the U.S., paper money.



The Seattle Post-Intelligencer begins publication, and remains the city's oldest newspaper.


Aaron Mercer is believed to have taken up the earliest land acquisition in Bellevue, an 80.5-acre plot located on what is now the west bank of the Mercer Slough.


In South King County, the town of Vinemaplevalley is established. It will be renamed Maple Valley in 1882.


Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, arguably history's greatest speech.


Henri Fourneaux builds his first player piano.


German inventor J.P. Reis demonstrates an electric telephone.



The first group of Asa Mercer's marriageable young ladies of good character arrives on May 16. Lizzie Ordway was the only Mercer Girl to remain single.


Beloeil, Quebec, Canada: 99 killed when an immigrant train failed to stop at an open swing bridge and fell into the Richelieu River.


Taiping Rebellion ends in China, over 20 million dead.


James Clerk Maxwell publishes theory that leads to radio wave discovery.



Butterfield and Company open the first commercial brewery in Seattle.


Civil War ends. Union Pacific Railroad heads west.


Appearance of a two-wheeled riding machine. The pedals were applied directly to the front wheel. This machine was known as the velocipede ("fast foot"), but was popularly known as the bone shaker, since it was made entirely of wood, then later with metal tires, and the combination of these with the cobblestone roads of the day made for an extremely uncomfortable ride. They also became a fad, and indoor riding academies, similar to roller rinks, could be found in large cities.


John D. Rockefeller takes control of the company that eventually becomes Standard Oil and begins consolidating a monopoly.



Great Eastern lays transatlantic telegraph cable.


Paris and Berlin build networks of pneumatic tube telegram delivery.


Pantelegraph transmits faxes commercially between Paris and Lyon.


West Virginian Mahlon Loomis manages a kind of wireless communication.


Benoit Rouquayrol and Auguste Denayrouse patented an apparatus for underwater breathing. It consisted of a horizontal steel tank of compressed air on a diver's back, connected to a valve arranged to a mouth-piece. 



Chief Sealth, chief of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes, who welcomed American settlers and had the city of Seattle named in his honor, dies on June 7, and is buried at Suquamish.


Cyrus Field lays the first successful transatlantic cable


The Siemens brothers improve steelmaking by developing the open hearth furnace


Western Union dominates U.S. wires.



The first coal mine at Newcastle WA begins production.


The United States purchases Alaska from Russia, beginning a profitable trading relationship.


Modern bicycle invented by Ernest Michaux.


World’s Fair, Paris


The modern (steam-powered) motorcycle is invented, built by one Sylvester Howard Roper of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and demonstrated at fairs and circuses in the eastern US beginning in 1867.



New York: first cable-powered & first elevated U.S. urban railroad (West Side & Yonkers Patent Railway).


Thomas Edison patents a vote recorder.



Seattle incorporates, for the second time. Henry Atkins is the city's first mayor.


African American George Riley establishes "Riley's Addition" on Beacon Hill.


William Meydenbauer homesteads the first claim site on what is now Meydenbauer Bay.


George Westinghouse, an inventive Civil War veteran, develops the straight air brake. A Pennsy 4-4-0 and a couple of passenger cars are fitted with the system and successfully demonstrated on April 13th.


The Central Pacific and Union Pacific meet at Promontory Summit, Utah for the driving of the golden spike on May 10th


Jay Gould and James Fisk precipitate "Black Friday" gold market crash after driving gold to 162. In response to Gould's and Fisk's market manipulations, the New York Stock Exchange outlaws "stock-watering" (issuuing shares in secret.)


Edison patents stock ticker and printing telegraph.


Jules Verne popularizes the concept of scuba in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. His central character, Captain Nemo, specifically cites the Rouquayrol/Denayrouze system (see 1865).



The federal census shows total population for Washington Territory at 23,355, for King County at 2164, and for Seattle 1142. Walla Walla is the most populous town in Washington Territory.


New York: first pneumatic-powered & first underground U.S. urban railroad (Beach Pneumatic Railroad Co.).


The High Wheel Bicycle, the first all metal bicycle appeared. (Previous to this metallurgy was not advanced enough to provide metal strong enough to make small, light parts out of.) The pedals were still attached directly to the front wheel with no freewheeling mechanism. Solid rubber tires and the long spokes of the large front wheel provided a much smoother ride than its predecessor. The front wheels became larger and larger as makers realized that the larger the wheel, the farther you could travel with one rotation of the pedals.


The English Channel Machine was built and operated by compressed air, driving 1.5 miles at some 70 feet/day under the English Channel before the project was abandoned for political reasons.


French postal authorities use hot air balloons during siege of Paris.


More than 5,000 newspapers are published in the U.S.


Pigeons carry microphotographed secret messages in Franco-Prussian War.


Telegraph across Europe and Asia connects London with Calcutta, 11,000 km.


Celluloid plastic by John W. Hyatt


Wheeler introduces toilet paper roll in US.



New York's Brooklyn Bridge is built, but many of the workmen pay a high price. Emerging after extended hours in high-pressure caissons (dry construction compartments sunk into the riverbed) they become crippled by "caisson disease." Because of the cramped and frozen joints caused by the affliction, reporters dub it "the bends."



Indian Appropriations Act states that Indians are no longer considered sovereign nations but wards of the federal government.


Christopher P. Higgins purchases 160 acres from the federal government in what would become a portion of the Crown Hill neighborhood


For 50 cents, teamster/livery stable owner Robert Abrams offers pedestrians a lift in his wagon up and down Skid Road (now Yesler Way), and all the way to Lake Washington. Abrams expands stage service to Georgetown and Renton.


New York: first steam-powered elevated U.S. urban railroad (New York Elevated Railroad Co.).


Frank Wenham's wind tunnel constructed. This is the first wind tunnel.


Paris Commune


First Trans-Siberian telegraph line connects Europe with China



The Northern Pacific Railroad chooses Tacoma as its western terminus.


The American-British border dispute in the San Juan islands is settled via arbitration by the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm.


President Grant establishes the Colville Confederated Tribes through an Executive Order, not a treaty. The reservation lands are reduced later that year following complaints of Colville Valley settlers


George Westinghouse patents the first automatic air brake. This is basically the same system as is used by today's railroads.


The Daily Dispatch, Seattle's first daily paper, begins publication.


Great Epizootic horse influenza epidemic in eastern U.S. kills thousands of horses (the motive power for most street railways).


Edward Stokes murders James Fisk in Grand Central Hotel, New York.


New York Sun begins exposing Credit Mobilier financing which culminates in huge railroad financing scandal.


The first use of modern, well-graded, high-density road asphalt (developed by Belgian immigrant Edward de Smedt at Columbia University) is in Battery Park and on Fifth Avenue in New York City.


Ernst Abbe, then research director of the Zeiss Optical Works, wrote a mathematical formula called the "Abbe Sine Condition". His formula provided calculations that allowed for the maximum resolution in microscopes possible.


The Montgomery Ward mail order catalog.


First million-dollar ad campaign in U.S.: Lydia Pinkham's Pink Pills.



 World’s Fair, Vienna


The Northern Pacific Railway chooses Tacoma as its western terminus; the line opens a decade later.


Coal is discovered in Renton. The city will be named for Captain William Renton, who assisted in financing and operating the Renton Coal Mine.


San Francisco: first successful cable-powered urban railroad (Clay St. Hill Railroad).


Typewriters get the QWERTY pseudo-scientific keyboard.


Maxwell publishes theory of radio waves


Dewey develops Dewey Decimal System for Amherst College Library



In reaction to the Northern Pacific decision, Seattle men begin construction of the Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad.


San Francisco: first recorded strike by street railway workers in U.S.


Gaston Tissandier and Sivel and Croce-Spinelli ascend in the Zenith to 28,820 feet and die from oxygen deprivation.



Thomas Moy designs, builds, and successfully demonstrates a pilotless, tandem-winged, steam engine powered, propeller-driven monoplane, the Aerial Steamer. It rises six inches off the floor of the Crystal Palace in London, England - the first machine of its type to "fly".


In France, the praxinoscope, an optical toy, a step toward movies.


Cathode-ray tube by William Crookes


Edison invents the mimeograph while trying to improve telegraph tape.


1876: World’s Fair, Philadelphia


General Le-Roy Stone's steam driven monorail was first demonstrated at the United States Centennial Exposition in 1876. The ornately designed double-decker vehicle had two main wheels, the rear one driven by a rotary steam engine.


An early player piano, created by Henri Fourneaux of France, is publicly exhibited at the Centennial Exposition.


Alexander Graham Bell invents the Telephone



King County Poor Farm is established on the Duwamish River to house the poor, sick, and homeless.


Four-cycle internal combustion engine invented by Nikolaus August Otto.


Edwin Holmes builds a telephone switchboard.


Eadweard Muybridge photographs horse in motion, forerunner of movies.


In France, Charles Cros invents the phonograph.

In America, Edison also invents the phonograph.


Emile Berliner invents the microphone. So does David Hughes.


Portuguese professor Adriano de Paiva writes proposal for a video system.



World’s Fair, Paris


Bradford & Foster Brook Monorail

A modified version of General Stone's Centennial monorail was put into use on a 6.4 kilometer line between Bradford and Gilmore, Pennsylvania. It was built to transport oil drilling equipment and personnel to Derrick City. Wayside stations were added at Tarpot, Babcock's Mill and Harrisburg Run. At that point, local inhabitants began to ride the line. The rotary engines lacked power and it was decided to gamble on a much larger locomotive driven by conventional pistons. The worst disaster in monorail history occurred on January 27, 1879 with this engine. Coupled to a flat car full of officials, the train was run at high speed to demonstrate its capability. The boiler exploded and the train crashed into a creek, killing the driver, fireman and three passengers. The rest were severely injured. The line was abandoned shortly thereafter.


The Seattle and Walla Walla Railroad is complete between Newcastle's coal mines and Seattle's waterfront bunkers, hauled by the locomotive A.A. Denny.


Seattle's first hospital - Providence Hospital - is opened, operated by the Sisters of Charity.


The first telephone in Seattle connects Seattle to West Seattle.


Punch cartoon imagines "telephonoscope": global, interactive, flat-panel HDTV.



In the city's first great fire, 20 downtown buildings burn, including Henry Yesler's mill.


First electric railway (in Berlin).


The world’s first oil pipeline, the Tidewater, is opened between PA and NY in an attempt to escape Standard Oil’s control over distribution.


Thomas Edison invents the indandescent light bulb


George Eastman builds a machine to mass-produce photographic dry-plates.



Seattle (Population: 3,533) is a small city, extending 1.5 miles along Elliott Bay, and 3⁄4 mile inland-from Denny Way south to Atlantic Street. By night, a few downtown blocks are lit by gaslamps.


Rutherford B. Hayes visits Seattle, the first president to travel west of the Rocky Mountains.


The filling of Seattle's tide flats has begun, and about 100 acres have been reclaimed.


Two earthquakes strike Puget Sound, December 7 and 12.


The League of American Wheelmen founded. Bicyclists, known then as "wheelmen", were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians. In an effort to improve riding conditions so they might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, over 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League led to the more general Good Roads Movement of the Progressive Era, which led, ultimately, to the national highway system.


Lead-acid battery perfected.


The first electric elevator is built by the German inventor Werner von Siemens.


Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope projects photographic images in motion.


The U.S. has about 50,000 telephones.



While waiting to be executed for his part in the plot to assassinate Czar Alexander II, Nikolai Kibalchich sketches and describes a manned flight vehicle propelled by a solid-fuel rocket engine.


Paris Exposition lets visitors listen to opera over telephone headsets.


Louis Latimer and Joseph V. Nichols invent incandescent light bulb with carbon filament. Prior to this, filaments had been made from paper.


Selford Bidwell sends electronic image by telegraph using photoelectric cell.


The first photographic roll film.



The Seattle Chamber of Commerce is organized.


The first King County Courthouse is erected on the corner of Jefferson Street and Third Avenue in downtown Seattle.


Boston: American Street Railway Association formed.


First nation-wide US ad (by P&G for Ivory soap).



Northern Pacific Railroad completed to Tacoma, linking Washington to the East


Daily coal shipments from Seattle reach 550 tons.


A group of local women found Seattle's chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), and the women of Washington Territory receive the right to vote.


The Brooklyn Bridge opens. This large suspension bridge, built by the Roeblings (father and son), is a triumph of engineering.


New York: first publicly operated cable-powered line (Brooklyn Bridge).


New York: first surviving street railway labor organization (Knights of Labor Local 2878) founded.


Charles Fritts, an American inventor, describes the first solar cells made from selenium wafers.


Automatic shoe making machine by Jan E. Matzeliger


Krakatoa eruption + Tsunami



Seattle Street railway Company (Horse Cars) Frank Osgood, Mgr. & Builder; Geo. Kinnear, Dave Denny, Directors..First Franchise: 2nd Avenue from Occidental to Pike St., Pike to First St., North to Battery St. and from Pike over other streets, North to Lake Union. Five cents a ride. This is the first Street Car in Washington Territory.


Paul Nipkow sends first images over wires using a rotating metal disk technology calling it the "electric telescope" with 18 lines of resolution.


People can now make long distance phone calls.



The log canal is cut through from Lake Washington to Portage Bay. Chinese laborers, supplied by Seattle's Wa Chong Company, complete the two-year excavation of the log canal that connected Lake Union with Lake Washington.


The Chinese population numbers 3,276 in Seattle.


The last black bear to be shot within the city limits of Seattle is killed at the eastern end of Jackson Street, near the shore of Lake Washington.


Austrian Siegfried Marcus displays his  3-wheel automobile at a Vienna fair.


A 2 passenger, 3 wheel automobile with 4-stroke gasoline-engine is invented by Daimler, Maybach and Benz.


Tainter and Bell "graphaphone" uses wax-coated cylinders for better sound.


Linotype machine by Ottmar Mergenthaler


Electrical transformer by Zipernowsky, Beri, and Blathy and William Stanley



Coal mining town of Roslyn founded; Mine operated by the Northern Pacific Coal Company


Seattle's first electric generator is demonstrated.


The electric-powered submarine is invented.


Electric lights are demonstrated in Seattle's Pioneer Square, described by the April 13 Post-Intelligencer as "When the dynamo started, the room was made brilliant by a clear white light." The dynamo was housed in the first central electric light plant west of the Mississippi River.


Meigs Monorail: Captain J.V. Meig's monorail made it as far as having a test track, but the design  never caught on.


Railroad car brake invented by George Westinghouse.


Montgomery, AL: first semi-successful citywide street railway transit agency (Capital City Street Railway Co.)


Amos Dolbear gets patent for wireless communication using induction.


Electric welding machine




Seattle's first cable railway.


Anti-Chinese mobs and vigilantes attempt to drive hundreds of Chinese workers from Seattle and King County, resulting in riot and death.


Electric lights are demonstrated in Seattle's Pioneer Square, described by the April 13 Post-Intelligencer as "When the dynamo started, the room was made brilliant by a clear white light." The dynamo was housed in the first central electric light plant west of the Mississippi River.


Dawes Severalty Act is passed. Indian lands are split into individual allotments, with remaining lands becoming public and therefore up for sale.


Enos Electric Railway: The first suspended monorail was tested on the grounds of the Enos Electric Company in Greenville, New Jersey. It was built of light, open steelwork rather than massive wooden beams that most monorails to this point had used. The Greenville demonstration attracted considerable publicity in the press, but no major system was ever built. The design may have influenced Eugen Langen in Germany, as the Enos Monorail bears a remarkable likeness to the Wuppertal Schwebebahn in Germany.


John Dunlop, a veterinarian in Belfast, invents the pneumatic tire (for the 2nd time) for his son’s tricycle, using sections of garden hose. It catches on in a big way with bicyclists.


Berliner gets music from a flat "gramophone" disc stamped out by machine.


Thomas Edison assigns engineer W.L.K. Dickson to create a motion picture camera.


International parcel post system established.


Photoelectric effect by Heinrich Hertz



Stampede Tunnel of the Northern Pacific Railroad completed across the Cascades


The City of Seattle ferry begins regular runs between downtown Seattle and West Seattle.


The Seattle, Lakeshore and Eastern Railroad reaches Issaquah.


Beginning of Electric Street Railway, West Street, Lake Union and Park Transit Company

Director: L.H. Griffith. Frank Osgood merged with this firm and name was changed to

Seattle Electric Railway and Power Company.


The Listowel & Ballybunion Railway: The Lartigue Railway Construction Company opened a 14.5 kilometer steel-railed monorail on March 1, 1888. It linked the town of Ballybunion, on the west coast of Ireland, with the market town of Listowel. The only passenger-carrying monorail in the British Isles for many years, it ran until 1924. Rising operational costs and road transport forced it out of business.


Frank Sprague installs a complete system of electric streetcars in Richmond, Virginia. This is the first large-scale and successful use of electricity to run a city's entire system of streetcars.


Alternating current motor invented by Nikola Tesla.


Data-processing computer invented by Herman Hollerith.


First windmill to generate electricity built in Ohio by Charles F. Brush


"Kodak" box camera makes picture taking simple. The "snapshot" is born.


Edison tries to record movies on a wax cylinder like his phonograph.


Heinrich Hertz proves that radio waves exist.


Oberlin Smith sets forth theory of magnetic recording.


Commercial adding machines by William Burroughs



In this year of Washington's statehood, Seattle's Great Fire destroys 25 blocks of buildings.


World’s Fair, Paris


An electric-powered streetcar runs for the first time on Second Avenue, said to be only the fourth electric streetcar in the world. Seattle's first electric streetcar fatality occurs within two months. Public worries about runaway bolts of electricity.


Electric railway to Renton built.


Work begins on interurban railroad between Seattle and Georgetown.


New York: first major strike by street railway workers.



Massive fish wheels - patterned after the principle used to propel paddlewheel boats – begin plucking 30 million tons of fish from the Columbia River each year.



Seattle Population: 42,390


Town of Ballard incorporated.


First electric subway train, London, England.


William Morrison builds an electric car in Des Moines that can travel for 13 hours at a speed of 14 mph.


Herman Hollerith counts the U.S. population with punch cards.


In Germany, Hermann Ganswindt proposes a reaction-powered spacecraft propelled by dynamite charges.


In Germany, Ferdinand Braun invents the cathode ray tube.


In England, Friese-Greene builds the kinematograph camera and projector.


Word 'automation' first used in Strand magazine


Edison introduces the first talking doll.


First execution by electric chair



Greenwood Cemetery established


Seattle's public library is established.


Miners strike at coal mines in Franklin, Issaquah, and Newcastle. African American miners are brought to King County coal fields from Missouri to replace striking miners.


The Great Northern Railway connects the Shoreline area to downtown Seattle, opening up the northern shore of Lake Washington to residential and recreational development.


The Rainier Avenue Electric Railway extends from downtown Seattle to Columbia City, signaling the beginning of development in the Rainier Valley.


Edison's assistant, Dickson, builds the Kinetograph motion picture camera.


The first international phone call via submarine cable, London - Paris.



Lucien F. Cook of Tacoma demonstrates model elevated electric railroad at Tacoma post office. He finds enough backers to build a full-size model on the Tacoma waterfront, demonstrated in November of 1892.


Hotchkiss Bicycle Railway ran from Mount Holly to Smithville in New Jersey. The purpose was that you hired a bicycle and rode it along a monorail track to your destination. There were a number of bicycle depots en route.


Indianapolis: first national street railway labor union founded (Amalgamated Association of Street Railway Employees of America, now called the Amalgamated Transit Union).


The tractor is invented.


Jesse Reno patents his moving stairs or inclined elevator as he called it. In 1895, he created a new novelty ride at Coney Island from his patented design, a moving stairway that elevated passengers on a conveyor belt at a 25 degree angle. 


Edison and Dickson invent peepshow Kinetoscope.


Seward Babbitt (American) invents a motorized crane with grippers



 Griffiths large holdings in Seattle Electric Railway and Power purchased by Denny & Sons,
August 3rd, (Price $212,000)


World’s Fair, Chicago – World’s Columbian  Exposition

George Ferris’ Wheel weighed in at over 4 million lbs. and was 264 feet high.

First moving sidewalk demonstrated at Expo.


Great Northern Railroad completed to Seattle


Economic depression bankrupts many streetcar lines serving outer neighborhoods such as Rainier Valley and Ravenna.


The first mainline electrification was in Baltimore, MD. A rigid overhead conductor supplied 675 VDC via one-sided tilted pantograph to the 96 ton 4-axle, 4-motor locomotives. These were very successful, hauling 1,800 ton trains up the 0.8% grade in the 1.25 mile Howard Street tunnel, where steam was not allowed to operate.


Portland, OR: first interurban rail line (East Side Railway Co.).


Diesel engine invented by Rudolf Diesel.


General Roy Stone, a Civil War hero and good roads advocate, is appointed Special Agent in charge of the new Office of Road Inquiry (ORI) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With a budget of $10,000, ORI promoted new rural road development to serve the wagons, coaches, and bicycles on America's dirt roads.


Lawrence Hargrave invents the box kite


Dickson builds a motion picture studio in New Jersey.


Coca:cola is registered as a trademark by a pharmacist in Atlanta.


Photoelectric cell by Julius Elster and Hans F. Geitel


Louis Boutan invents the first underwater camera.



A 6-week long Great Northern strike paralyzes regional rail shipping.


Pullman Palace Car Co slashes wages and causes workers to strike.


U.S. government issues injunction against striking Pullman Palace Car Co. workers.

President Cleveland sends U.S. troops to Chicago to enforce injunction. Two men are killed on July 6. Troops are withdrawn on July 20.


Trolley employees strike in New York. Riots follow, eventually stopped by New York and Brooklyn militia.


The Boynton Unicycle Railroad locomotive was built in 1894. The train was supported by a wooden rail on top. The problem here was that in bends the outward force on the wooden rail on top was so high that it might break. The locomotive weighed 22000 kg!


The world's first modern amusement park - Paul Boyton's Water Chutes  - opens on Chicago's South side, inspired by the Midway at the 1893 Fair.


Octave Chanute compiles and publishes Progress in Flying Machines. This is the world's first compendium of aviation experiments. He goes on to design, sponsor, and mentor glider developments including those of the Wright brothers.


The word "spaceship" appears in print.


In New York City, Edison opens a Kinetoscope movie parlor.



Seattle Electric Railway and Power Co. power plant & all equipment destroyed by fire:
(All Cars stored for night when fire started).


In Italy, teenager Guglielmo Marconi invents wireless telegraph, sends a radio signal more than a mile.


Chicago: first electric elevated rail line (Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway).


Konstantin Tsiolkovskiy, (born in 1857) begins many years’ work on the idea of a rocket-propelled spaceship.


France's Lumiere brothers' portable movie camera can also print, project films.

In a Paris cellar, a paying audience sees Lumiere's motion pictures projected.


Kellogg's Corn Flakes



The Miike Maru begins regular steamship service from Japan to Seattle. A century later, Japan was Seattle's principle trading partner.


The Seattle and Rainier Beach Railway (later the Seattle, Renton, & Southern Railway) reaches Renton.


Henry Ford builds Quadricycle.


Edison Vitascope, designed by Thomas Armat, brings film projection to U.S.


Hollerith founds the Tabulating Machine Co. It will become IBM in 1924.


X-ray photography


Nikola Tesla invents a spark radio transmitter.


Turned down by Italy, Guglielmo Marconi takes radio gear to England.



The steamer Portland arrives on July 17 from Skagway, beginning the Gold Rush to the Klondike. A series of gold rushes begin that will boom Seattle, and bankroll its growth into the new century.


Seattle Traction Company organized with Insurance money collected after 1895 fire.


Boston: first electric underground street railway line in U.S. (West End Street Railway/Boston Elevated Railway Co.). Also first publicly-financed public transportation facility (street railway tunnel).


Solomon Andree makes attempt at first flight over the Arctic in a hydrogen-filled balloon but balloon goes down and he disappears


Joseph John Thomson discovers the electron.


William Harbutt invents Plasticine



Spanish-American War


Seattle's Chamber of Commerce succeeds in bringing a U.S. Assay Office to the city.


18 December, a land speed record is officially set when Frenchman Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat drives his car at 39.24mph.


A loudspeaker is invented.


Sound is recorded magnetically on wire by Valdemar Poulsen of Denmark.



Mount Rainier National Park established


Washington State Good Roads Association formed at meeting in Spokane. Sam Hill named president.


Marconi radio equipment installed in British warships.


Within a year, the land speed record is broken five times, passing between the Frenchman, Chasseloup-Laubat, and a Belgian, Camille Jenatzy, who raises the record to 65.79mph.


Leon de Bort discovers the stratosphere.


Economist Thorsten Veblen coins the term "conspicuous consumption."




The player piano is a central force in American musical life. Referred to variously as automatic pianos, pianolas and reproducing pianos, players of all types are found not only in penny arcades, but in homes, concert halls, restaurants, saloons, stores— virtually anywhere music is heard.



World’s Fair, Paris


Seattleites are awed by the city's first automobile, an electric-powered vehicle.


Frederick Weyerhaeuser sets up a logging business in western Washington


Stone & Webster utility cartel (ancestor of Puget Sound Energy) buys up Seattle streetcar lines and wins 35-year city franchise.


Seattle Population: 80,671


America produces 212 million tons of coal and only 64 million barrels of oil.


Standard Oil is a refining monopoly producing 95% of the nation’s refined petroleum


Casey Jones rides the "Cannonball" into history on April 30th.


Count Zeppelin flies the world's first untethered rigid airship, the LZ-1 near Lake Constance, Germany. It carries five passengers.


Kodak's $1 Brownie puts photography in almost everyone's reach.


Max Planck introduces quantum theory hypothesis.


Joshua Lionel Cowen invents Lionel miniature trains.



Seattle-Tacoma and Seattle-Everett interurban railways built and acquired by Stone & Webster.


World’s Fair, Buffalo, NY – Pan-American Exposition


Wuppertal Schwebebahn: Civil Engineer Eugen Langen of Cologne, Germany has left his mark on the history of monorails in a big way. His Schwebebahn (suspension railway) has operated successfully along the Wupper river for over 100 years. It has survived two world wars and continues to operate profitably and safely today.


James Hill and J.P. Morgan fight with Edward Harriman and Kuhn Loeb over control of Great Northern and Northern Pacific. Stock hits $1000/share, causing panic and collapse in other stocks.


Alberto Santos Dumont wins the Deutsch prize for circling the Eiffel Tower in an airship.


Herr Berson and Professor Suring ascend to 35,500 feet in a balloon; record stands until 1931.


In Germany, Karl Braun discovers that a crystal can detect radio waves.


Gillette introduces double-edged safety razor.



Reclamation Service begins irrigation project in Yakima and Okanogan valleys to facilitate farming


Seattle voters approve future municipal electric plant on the Cedar River


Stone & Webster opens electric interurban rail service between Tacoma and Seattle.


Air conditioning invented by Willis Carrier.


A group of auto enthusiasts in Chicago form the American Automobile Association (AAA).

In France, magician George Méliès' A Trip to the Moon tells fantasy in film.


Teddy Roosevelt threatens to have the Army take over the coal mining industry if management and labor won’t agree to arbitration to end strike.


U.S. Navy installs radio telephones aboard ships.


Transpacific telephone cable connects Canada and Australia.



Dedication and first interments at ten-acre Crown Hill Cemetery, from which the neighborhood gets its name,  established by Ballard founder, G.W. Toop and a group of Ballard’s leading citizens (1902).


The Seattle City Council approved John Charles Olmsted's "A Comprehensive System of Parks and Parkways" on October 19th. Seattleites vote $500,000 for parks. The Olmsted firm will later design the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exhibition on the University of Washington campus, as well as the Washington Park Arboretum.


Iron Chink fish cleaning machine invented by Seattleite Edmund A. Smith


First successful airplane flight by the Wright brothers.


Publication of Tsiolkovskiy's work "The Exploration of the World Space with Jet Propulsion Instruments"



Pacific Cable completed. Message circles the globe in 12 minutes.


Richard Zsigmondy develops the ultramicroscope that can study objects below the wavelength of light. He wins the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1925.



World’s Fair, St. Louis – Louisiana Purchase Exposition


Survey shows that about 1% of Washington roads are paved.


New York: first electric underground (& first 4-track express) heavy rail line in U.S. (Interborough Rapid Transit Co.)


Driving his Arrow at 91.37mph, Henry Ford breaks the land speed record at Lake St Clair, Michigan.


The French become the first to break the 100mph barrier when Louis Rigolly reaches 103.55mph in a Gobron-Brillie car.


Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect (along with a paper on his theory of relativity).


Vacuum tube (thermonic valve) by John Ambrose Fleming


The first telephone answering machine.


First double-sided phonograph records.


The Landlord's Game is invented by Lizzie Magie (later becomes Monopoly).



The Alaska Building, Seattle's first real skyscraper, is completed.


Washington State Highway Department created.


New York: first public takeover of a private public transportation company (Staten Island Ferry).


New York: first bus line in U.S. (Fifth Avenue Coach Co.)


America produces 315 million tons of coal and 135 million barrels of oil.


In Pittsburgh the Nickelodeon movie theater opens; concept grows fast.


Photography, printing, and post combine in the year's fad, picture postcards.



March 23: the Ballard Tribune published a large display advertisement by the E. B. Cox Investment Company, of Ballard, under the banner, "Loyal Heights," announcing the recent acquisition of 180 acres in the northwest corner of the town, overlooking "Loyal Beach." A new electric trolley line to the area, it promised, would be operational in 60 days… the electric trolley, a private venture of Treat’s that began rolling in 1906 with the filing of his first plats. The route followed a 20-foot right of way running diagonally through one of his parcels. Today, King Country METRO bus route 48 follows this right of way, known as Loyal Way NW.


Seattle's downtown Carnegie Library opens, at 1000 Fourth Avenue, to serve 22,000 borrowers in its first year.


Alberto Santos-Dumont constructs and flies first airplane in Europe


Caffeine replaces the cocaine in Coca-Cola.


The United States takes over the government of Cuba.


Lee De Forest's three-element vacuum tube, the audion, puts voices on the air.


Fessenden plays violin over radio and talks to startled ship wireless operators.


Paul Otlet proposes standardized microfiche for documentation.



The Pike Place Market opens, offering farm-fresh produce to Seattle shoppers.


Nation's first gas station opens in Seattle.


Ballard Population: 17,000. Ballard (and West Seattle and part of Rainier Valley) annexed to Seattle. Crown Hill still largely forested, but being platted for development.


Greenwood Cemetery closed, contents moved to Crown Hill Cemetery.


Luna Amusement Park at Duwamish Head in West Seattle opens. It entertains the citizenry until it burns down in 1913.


Walter Wellman attempts to reach the North Pole by airship.


Louis and Jacques Breguet build their first helicopter, the Breguet-Richet Gyroplane No. 1, one of the first mechanical devices to actually hove


Commercial fax system for photos operates between Paris, London, and Berlin.


Lumiere brothers invent still color photography process.


Synthetic plastic by Leo H. Baekeland (Bakelite).



William Boeing arrives in Seattle as a lumberman.


Ford Model T introduced – most successful car in history.


Date of a manuscript by Russian F.A. Tsander, which considered life support and other issues of the interplanetary travel.


Movie makers set up shop in California at a place called Hollywood.


In France, Gabriel Lippmann improves color photography, wins Nobel Prize.


Haldane, Boycott and Damant publish their landmark paper on decompression sickness. "The Prevention of Compressed-Air Illness"



World’s Fair - Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle from June through September at the University of Washington, drawing 3.7 million visitors for whom it would showcase the Northwest's setting and bounty of natural resources, promote Seattle as the gateway to northern gold.


Mount Olympus National Monument established


The First American Congress of Road Builders held in Seattle at the AYPE in a specially constructed building that displayed roadbuilding technology. That same year, Sam Hill used his ranch at Maryhill in Klickitat County to build 10 miles of demonstration roads, which showed off seven different surfacing techniques. These were the first paved roads in eastern Washington.


The AYPE sponsors a New York to Seattle automobile race. The winning Model T Ford (later disqualified) takes 23 days to make the trip. The race serves as an advertisement for Seattle, for the good roads movement, and, most of all, for the newly released Model T Ford, soon to claim over half of the worldwide market for cars.


Harbor Island is completed in Elliott Bay, built with earth dredged from the Duwamish River and from south Seattle regrades. It is the largest manmade island in the United States.


The hydrofoil is invented.


Brennan Monorail: Louis Brennan patented his invention for a gyroscopically-balanced car in 1903. A full scale demonstration was presented to the press on November 10, 1909 at Gillingham, England. It was built primarily as a military vehicle due to the high speed at which track could be laid. Even with passengers all on one side of the vehicle, the two onboard gyroscopes were strong enough to keep the car level. Despite a series of successful demonstrations to scientists, engineers and military officers, the fear that the gyroscopes might fail prevented Brennan's invention from ever being used for transportation.


Igor Sikorsky builds his first helicopter, the S-1, in Russia


German entrepreneurs create airship service as its first airline-DELAG-using airships built by Count Zeppelin



First airplane to fly in Washington is demonstrated near Seattle in March.


Jan. 10th: Brennan-Scherl gyroscopic monorail demonstrated in Brooklyn, NY.


March 8th: Seattle voters authorize Municipal Plans Commission to create a guide for the city’s future development. Virgil G. Bogue, a respected harbor planner and civil engineer and colleague of the Olmsted Brothers, is hired to lead the effort.


William H. Boyes and others incorporate Seattle-Tacoma Monorail Co.


Monorail on 2nd Avenue proposed by the Universal Elevated Railway Co. (but never built)


Washington State women regain the right to vote as part of a landslide of progressive legislation, including the direct primary (1907), workmen's compensation (1911) and the recall, initiative and referendum (1911).


Seattle City Light is organized to provide public power; Stone & Webster completes interurban line between Seattle and Everett. Private developers also float stock for an interurban monorail.


Hollywood, CA: first trolleybus line (Laurel Canyon Utilities Co.).

The zeppelin Deutschland becomes the world's first commercial airship.


Henri Fabre designs, builds, and flies the first seaplane over Berre Lake near Marseilles, France


America produces 417 million tons of coal to 210 million barrels of oil.


World’s Fair, Brussels, Belgium


DeForest’s radio carries Enrico Caruso’s voice from the Met; heard at sea.


U.S. requires radio transmitters on some passenger ships.


Edgar Chambless’ Roadtown published. Chambless spent 15 years developing his utopian city design that, he fervently believed, would be a cure for all the ills and iniquities of urban life. Roadtown was a single building, miles long, snaking across the countryside. One level was to be residential, another dedicated to workshops of all sorts, on top a broad promenade with shaded arcade and bicycle path, and below  a quiet, clean and fast Boyes electric monorail, as well as  a variety of pipes and conveyors for the delivery of any and all domestic needs or raw material for the workshops – for the collection and distribution of everything. Boyes generously donated his patent to the cause  


13.5% of Americans complete high school; 2.7% have college degrees.


Radio hobby craze; Quaker Oats boxes used to build crystal, cat's whisker sets.


Krazy Kat appears in a comic strip. The bricks start flying.



William H. Boyes Monorail:

This test track was built and demonstrated in 1911 in the tideflats of Seattle or Tacoma, Washington. The rails were made of wood and track cost was estimated to be around $3,000 per mile. A bargain! The Seattle Times commented at the time that "the time may come when these wooden monorail lines, like high fences, will go straggling across country, carrying their burden of cars that will develop a speed of about 20 miles per hour." Like so many inventions, lack of financial backing prevented further development.


May 2nd: Groundbreaking ceremony for Seattle- Edmonds Monorail (Boyes Monorail Edmonds Co.). Never built.


June 7th: King County Commissioners approve Boyes Monorail Riverton-Seattle Company’s application for an elevated electric monorail franchise.


August 24th: Bogue presents his plan for Seattle’s future development. It describes an ambitious set of improvements including a giant train station on the south shore of Lake Union, elevated rapid transit, a Civic Center complex of government buildings in the recently leveled Denny Regrade, a rail transit line linking Seattle and Kirkland via a tunnel beneath Lake Washington, and possible acquisition of Mercer Island as a city park. This fine Plan falls chronologically between Burnham’s Chicago Plan [1909] and Bennett  & Crawford’s Minneapolis Plan [1917]. Though less well known than these, Bogue’s plan seems their equal in quality and imagination.


Oct. 21st : Boyes Monorail Edmonds Co. hauled into court by impatient investors.


Voters approve creation of the publicly-owned and operated Port of Seattle.


Governor Marion E. Hay signs “Permanent Highway Act,” imposing state control over major highways and levying a one-mill road tax.


GM engineers, Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering, invent the first electrical ignition system for cars. The self-starting ignition is first installed in a Cadillac on February 17, 1911.


Standard Oil monopoly busted up by federal anti-trust action. The resulting smaller companies fail to compete with each other for many years.


Roald Amundsen is first person to reach South Pole on foot.


Cal Rodgers becomes first person to fly across the United States, in the Vin Fiz when he lands in Pasadena, California


Frederick Winslow Taylor, who invented time-and-motion studies of workers in the 1880s, publishes his work, The Principles of Scientific Management.


Photoplay magazine launched - first movie fan magazine and beginning of U.S.celebrity mania.



March 5th: Seattle voters reject the Bogue Municipal Plan


State engineers begin experimenting with concrete paving.


Charlie Chaplin earns rave reviews in Seattle for his performance in "A Night in an English Music Hall," at the Empress Theatre.


Construction of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard begins.


San Francisco: first publicly operated street railway in a large U.S. city (San Francisco Municipal Railway)


Cleveland: first street railway to operate buses (Cleveland Railway)


First diesel locomotive goes into service in England.


Schilovsky's two-wheel Gyrocar.


First bi-plane with cabin, forerunner of modern airliner, built by Igor Sikorsky.


French begin experimenting with aerial bombing


Victor Hess discovers cosmic rays in a research balloon


The Titanic sinks after hitting an iceberg.


U.S. passes Radio Act to control radio broadcasts; licenses are easy to get.



W.H. Shepard (International Monorail Company) builds full-scale model on Seattle tideflats and seeks backing to build system.


More than 100,000 attend Seattle's annual summer festival - the Potlatch - but the celebration ends in disaster as servicemen wreck and burn socialist bookshops and halls.


The Seattle branch of the NAACP is founded.


Carl Fisher, founder of the Indianapolis Speedway, proposes the “Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway,” which becomes the Lincoln Highway. Henry Joy of Packard is elected president of the Lincoln Highway Assoc. at its first meeting. They picked out a route across the country on existing roads and used it as centerpiece for a massive marketing campaign to convince people that federal tax dollars should build a national highway system.


The King County wagon/auto ferry, Leschi, begins a run between Bellevue and Leschi Park in Seattle. 


Daniel Dugdale opens a baseball stadium on Rainier Avenue South in Seattle's Mount Baker neighborhood. The Seattle Braves and the Seattle Indians play at Dugdale Stadium until it is destroyed by a fire in 1932.


State takes over private toll bridge between Clarkston and Lewiston, making it Washington's first public interstate bridge.


Henry Ford creates the first moving assembly line for mass production.


AT&T pledges universal phone service, expands to rural areas.


Edison starts making disks; cylinder recordings are on the way out.


Former Olympian and medical doctor A.C. Gilbert invents the Erector Set.



First auto ferry on Puget Sound.


Finnish immigrant Oscar Wirkkala invents the "spar logging" technique


Voters approve purchase of Rainier Valley interurban line but its owners balk and funds are spent to build streetcar line to Ballard.


Smith Tower is completed, at 42 stories, the tallest building in Seattle through 1968.


Genoa Monorail: Built for the 1914 "Esposizione Internazionale di Igiene, Marina e Colonie" exposition, this straddle-type monorail looks like a close cousin of many of today's Alweg-based monorails. The "Telfer" Monorail had coaches the size of railway cars and was conceived as a mass transit system demonstrator. The line linked the exhibition site with a central square of the city. The train was built by the Italian manufacturer Carminati & Toselli and consisted of 4 coaches for passengers, with a electric locomotive located in the middle. The monorail only operated for a couple of years and was then dismantled.


Britain achieves its first win when L G Hornsted, reaching 124.10mph, breaks the land speed record at the Brooklands racetrack in Surrey in a Benz car.


Grand cinema houses replace nickelodeons.


Charles Pajeau develops Tinker Toys.



World War I


The Horse is used in World War 1. Vast numbers of horses become innocent victims of the War.



The Sunset Highway (I-90) opens.


 World’s Fair, San Francisco – Panama-Pacific International Exposition


The LZ-38 is the first zeppelin to bomb London.


An early film of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea marks the first commercial use of underwater cinematography.





Lumberman William Boeing begins testing seaplanes for the military.


Between 1900 and 1916 the number of automobiles in Washington State goes from 1 to 70,000.


President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Aid Road Act, offering the first significant national funding for highway construction.


Saint Louis: first public bus-only transit agency in U.S. (St. Louis Division of Parks and Recreation Municipal Auto Bus Service).


US railways peak at 254,000 miles of track.


Radios get tuners.


John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright, invents Lincoln Logs.



Spruce Army originated - special Signal Corps “squadrons” charged with overseeing the production of spruce lumber for warplanes


Fort Lewis (United States Army) established.


The Lake Washington Ship Canal officially opens on July 4, linking Lake Washington to Puget Sound, causing Lake Washington to fall nine feet, and the lakeshore, Foster Island, and Mercer Island to greatly increase in size. It also uncovers Mercer Slough, eliminates the South outfall of Lake Washington through the Black River to the Duwamish, and dries up the Wetmore Slough of Columbia City.


New York: last horse-drawn street railway in U.S. closed


Dec 28:  President Woodrow Wilson uses Federal Possession and Control Act to take possession of  "each and every system of transportation...within the boundaries of the United States."

U.S. Railroad Administration created.


Feds control coal prices, increase coal production by 16% over the two years of the war, and implement “Gasless Sundays” which forbid the sale of gasoline one day a week.


Winston Chruchill, as Vice Admiral of the British navy, started production of a fleet of oil-burning battleships to out-speed German coal-burning ships; invaded the German-allied Ottoman Empire in order to control Persian oil; and sent a military force to Romania to destroy the Germans’ primary source of oil.


The Smithsonian Institution awards a $5,000 grant to Robert Goddard to conduct rocket research in the upper atmosphere.


The Bolshevik revolution in Russia.


Albert Einstein identifies stimulated emission, theoretical basis for lasers.


Draeger produces a true scuba diving system that combines tanks containing a mixture of compressed air and oxygen, for use at depths to 130 feet.


Food freezing perfected by Birdseye



Seattle Mayor Ole Hanson agrees to buy Stone & Webster's Seattle streetcar lines at an inflated price.


First State Highway Districts, each headed by a District Engineer, are established.


The worldwide influenza epidemic hits the area.


W.H. Shepard and his Monorail Transit Co. of Seattle, build mining monorail system at Highland-Surprise Mine in the Coeur d’Alene district. First successful, functional monorail system in the U.S.


United States adopts five standard time zones across the nation and Alaska.


Congress passes Railway Control Act to officially control U.S. railway system during World War I.


Regularly scheduled airmail begins in the United States. Post Office hires 40 pilots.


Billy Mitchell commands 1500 airplanes from all the Allied nations at Saint-Mihiel.


Robert Goddard writes "The Ultimate Migration" describing the exodus of the human civilization from a dying Solar System onboard a nuclear-powered colony. The work is not published until 1972.



Seattle's General Strike-the first in North America-idles 60,000 workers from February 6 through February 9.


The Army, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, embarks on a celebrated caravan crossing of the entire Lincoln Highway as a test of national preparedness.  Cross-country racers were setting records and capturing headlines.  Songs and poems were written about the road.  The highway caught on in the advertising world.  Restaurants, motor garages, campgrounds, and hotels proudly displayed the banners and named themselves after the Lincoln Highway.


This year marks the peak salmon catch from Puget Sound waters.


After the war, Britain held a majority of the land in the Middle East and carved it up with the other allies and instated rulers to the newly formed countries of Trans-Jordan, the Saudi Kingdom, and Iraq, with little regard to ethnicity of the of the inhabitants, in order to maintain supremacy over oil

in the region. For many years, the U.S. was denied access to British lands to extract or search for petroleum.


Due to increasing demand, the U.S. Bureau of Mines predicts that by 1924 the oil fields of America will reach their maximum production and we will face decline in supply ever after.


The British rigid airship, the R34, makes the first transatlantic round-trip flight. It flies from Fortune, Scotland to Newfoundland, Canada, to Mineola, New York, and back to Pulham, England. The trip takes 183 hours and 15 minutes."


International airmail delivery begins when Bill Boeing and Eddie Hubbard carry mail from Vancouver, Canada, to Seattle Washington.


Shortwave radio is invented.


Americans spend more on records than on books, musical instruments.


C. J. Cooke develops a mixture of helium and oxygen (heliox) that allows commercial divers to extend their useful working depth well beyond previous limits.



15th Ave. NW paved to 85th


Fearing a monopoly “Concrete Trust,” voters soundly reject first proposed state bond issue for highway construction for $30 million. (The state would not use bonds for road construction until the Great Depression.)


Height of "Mosquito Fleet" with 350 ports of call to move goods and people across Puget Sound.


First bus not based on truck chassis (Fageol Safety Coach).


Government returns control of all railroads.


The world’s first 4-way three color traffic light was installed on the corner of Woodward and Michigan Avenues in Detroit.  Within a year, Detroit had installed a total of fifteen of the new automatic lights. It was invented by Police Officer William Potts.


The Smithsonian Institution publishes Goddard's "A Method of Attaining Extreme Altitudes," which was misinterpreted by the press as a proposal for a rocket flight to the Moon.


Universal Airlines builds a downtown Chicago air terminal


Japanese military places orders for nearly 1,400 warplanes


KDKA begins regular schedule, starting the era of radio broadcasting.


Electric typewriter by Smathers



90 percent of all trips in the US were by rail, chiefly electric rail; only one in 10 Americans owned an automobile. There were 1,200 separate electric street and interurban railways, a thriving and profitable industry with 44,000 miles of track, 300,000 employees, 15 billion annual passengers, and $1 billion in income. Virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system.


Seattle streetcars ban smoking.


The Federal Highway Act focuses funding on an interstate system of highways.


Washington levies its first gas tax (one cent per gallon) and begins removing commercial signs on state road property.


New York: first successful trolleybus line.


Automatic windshield wipers invented. Called "Folberths," after their inventors, Fred and William Folberth, they were powered by an "air engine," a device connected by a tube to the inlet pipe of the car’s motor.


The British rigid airship, the R34, is wrecked while landing at Howden, England.


Photographs can be transmitted by wire across the Atlantic.


The word robot coined by Karl Capek in the play R.U.R.


Skywriting begins.


First hamburger chain, White Castle.



After a year of staggering losses, due to a saturated market, General Motors’ Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. launches a massive effort to destroy America’s electric streetcar systems, replacing them with foul-smelling, unreliable buses, and thus driving up the demand for private automobiles. This effort was sustained on many fronts, with almost total success, for the next thirty years.


State Supreme Court bans use of non-fare revenue to pay off Seattle's streetcar debt, dooming the system to eventual bankruptcy.


The U.S. semi-rigid airship Roma crashes and burns, killing 34 airmen. This endsthe use of hydrogen by the United States, which starts using helium gas.


KJR, Seattle's first radio station, begins broadcasting.


Canada creates Canadian National Railway and nationalized system.


Great Kanto Earthquake levels Tokyo.


Benito Mussolini comes to power in Italy


Nanook of the North, first documentary film.


First 3-D movie



Final 36-mile stretch of Pacific Highway is paved between Kalama and Toledo to complete State Road No. 1 (now SR 99).


Bay City, MI, Everett, WA, Newburgh, NY: first cities to replace all streetcars with buses.


The Navy builds the Shenandoah, the first rigid, helium airship constructed in the United States.


John Harwood invents the self-winding watch.


In Germany, Hermann Obert publishes work called "The Rocket into Interplanetary Space."


Half a million radios are sold in U.S., a five-fold increase in one year.


Kodak introduces home movie equipment.


The"Neufeldt-Kuhnke" rigid diving suit is used to work in deep waters -- its shell actually resists pressure up to a depth of 590 feet.


Robert Goddard tests a rocket engine using liquid fuel


Neon signs.



The diesel truck is invented.


American Motorcyclist Association founded.


Malcom Campbell sets his first land speed record in his Sunbeam Bluebird at Pendine Sands in Wales – 146.16mph.


Eight U.S. Army Air Corp pilots fly around the world from Sand Point Naval Air Station.


The Magnesium Monorail: One of the last Lartigue-based monorails was built by the Sierra Salt Corporation. It carried magnesium salts from their mine in the Crystal Hills to the Trona railhead in California. The route lay across the rugged terrain of the Salinas Valley in Inyo County. The line was a great success until more modern ways of extracting magnesium put the mine company out of business two years later.


Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company builds the dirigibles Akron and Macon for the U.S. Navy. They are each able to hold five airplanes that can be launched and retrieved while the dirigibles are in flight.


Television (mechanical) pioneer John Logie Baird creates the first televised pictures of objects in motion.


The Society for Studies of Interplanetary Travel is founded in Moscow.


Tsiolkovskiy's book Cosmic Rocket Trains describes multi-stage rockets.


Tsiolkovskiy, Tsander and Kondratyuk propose the use of the atmosphere as a breaking medium for the spaceships returning to Earth.



William E. Boeing purchases former Puget Mill timberlands overlooking Puget Sound that will become Blue Ridge neighborhood


The Montlake Bridge opens, spanning the Cut.


Malcom Campbell, at 150.76mph, becomes the first man to break the 150mph barrier.


A moving image, the blades of a model windmill, is telecast.


Otlet & Goldschmidt propose microform library, precursor of Bush's Memex.



Bertha Landes is elected mayor of Seattle, the first woman to be so honored in a major American city.


Henry Segrave makes his first land speed record at Southport Sands in Lancashire – 152.33mph.


Welshman Parry Thomas breaks the land speed record in Babs on Pendine Sands (171.02mph). Believing he can go faster, he breaks his record again a day later (172.331mph).


The Italian airship Norge, piloted by Umberto Nobile, flies over the North Pole.


Liquid-propelled rocket invented by Robert Goddard.


Television (electronic) invented by Baird, Jenkins and Mihaly.


Polymer chemistry ushers in plastics revolution



Olmpic Golf Course and Country Club opens in Crown Hill area


Jan. 3rd: E.W. Houghton, famed Seattle theater architect, submits proposal for new system of Monorail Rapid Transit to City Council.


Lincoln Highway Association disbands on December 31st, after passing one final resolution to mark the route as a final memorial to Lincoln.


First Vantage Bridge over the Columbia River opens.


A year after his last attempt, Parry Thomas makes another land speed attempt on Pendine Sands. Unfortunately, a drive chain broke, the car overturned and Thomas is killed. At 203.792mph, Henry Segrave breaks the 200mph barrier in his Sunbeam at Daytona, Florida.


Charles Lindbergh makes solo transatlantic flight.


Federal safety regulations force the demise of "barnstorming"


German Rocket Society (VfR) is formed


Philadelphia: first automobile park-and-ride lot.


Jolson's The Jazz Singer is the first popular "talkie."



Boeing Field opens.


In one day, September 1, 1928, Boy Scouts place 3,000 markers at every mile across the coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway.


Highway 99 completed between Tacoma and Seattle, ending interurban service.


Pushing his Napier-powered Bluebird to 206.956mph, Malcom Campbell retrieves the land speed record at Daytona. But two months later, the record is broken by American Ray Keech.


Ente (Duck), the world's first aircraft powered by rocket engine, completes the first flight in Germany.


More than 8,000 postmasters contacted to arrange for town names to be painted on rooftops


The teletype machine makes its debut.


In Schenectady, N.Y., the first scheduled television broadcasts.


Times Square gets moving headlines in electric lights.



U.S. stock market crashes


The Great Northern Railway completes the eight-mile long Cascade Tunnel, the longest rail tunnel in the United States, running from Scenic to Berne.


The Bennie Railplane: While railroad engineering stagnated between the world wars, one unique demonstation line was built by Scottish engineer George Bennie. The short test track was built over a railroad line near Glasgow, Scotland. Two electrically-powered propellers delivered 240 horsepower in a short burst for acceleration to the cruise speed of 160 kph. There were plans for a high-speed link between London and Paris, with a seaplane to carry passengers across the English Channel, but the grave economic difficulties of the 1930's doomed the Railplane from the start.


Henry Segrave breaks the land speed record again in his Golden Arrow at Daytona, taking it to 231.446mph.


The British dirigible, R101, is rebuilt for more lift. It becomes the largest manmade object ever to fly.


The Graf Zeppelin circles the globe in 12 days. Starting from Lakehurst, New Jersey, the Graf Zeppelin stops only in Tokyo, Japan, Los Angeles, California, and Lakehurst.


H. Noordung publishes The Problems of Navigating Space, describing a space station.


First color television transmission, Bell Telephone Laboratories.



Playland, a 12-acre "million dollar pleasure resort," opened with a flourish on May 24th, along the shores of Bitter Lake, north of the Seattle city limits. The Dipper was its grand attraction, a state-of-the-art roller coaster soaring 85 feet into the air with 3,400 feet of track filled with reverse curves, 60-degree banks, and one virtual somersault. The new pleasure spot boasted being the biggest and finest amusement park in the whole of the Pacific Northwest. Playland thrilled park goers for 30 years until its demise in 1961.


First television system suitable for home use developed by Philo T. Pharnsworth.


Ford’s Model T has put all electric automobile manufacturers out of business.


Automatic transmission for vehicles.


The American Interplanetary Society is formed in New York by G. Edward Pendray, David Lasser and others.


Raketenflugplatz, the first rocket test range, is declared operational near Berlin, Germany.


First radio-equipped airport control tower is built in Cleveland, Ohio


"Golden Age" of radio begins in U.S.


Vannevar Bush's partly electronic computer (Differential Analyzer) can solve differential equations.


William Beebe descends 1,426 feet in a bathysphere attached to a barge by a steel cable.


AT&T trials picture telephone.



Seattle’s Hooverville is founded on the tide flats - a community of homeless, jobless men.


Olympic Loop Highway (U.S. 101) opens.


Wiley Post and Harold Gatty land in New York after record-setting round-the-world flight of 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes.


RCA broadcasts experimental TV image of familiar Felix the Cat.


In Berlin, lone genius Konrad Zuse invents a computer, but is ignored.


Ernst Ruska invents the electron microscope. An electron microscope depends on electrons rather than light to view an object, electrons are speeded up in a vacuum until their wavelength is extremely short, only one hundred-thousandth that of white light. Electron microscopes make it possible to view objects as small as the diameter of an atom.



State builds George Washington Memorial Bridge (Aurora Bridge) without streetcar tracks.


Carlton Cole Magee invents the first parking meter. First used in Oklahoma City in 1935.


Auguste Piccard and Max Cosyns climb to a record 53,152 in a balloon.


Sergei Korolev leads tests of rocket-propelled glider


Frits Zernike invented the phase-contrast microscope that made possible the study of colorless and transparent biological materials. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1953 for it.


Zoom lens invented.



The Seattle Art Museum opens in Volunteer Park.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt begins New Deal programs; Grand Coulee Dam begun.


Feb. 24th: John S. Wheeler (Boyes associate and longtime monorail promoter) dies still believing monorail was the way to go for Puget Sound transit system.


San Antonio: first large city to replace all streetcars with buses.


President Roosevelt takes U.S. off gold standard.


British Interplanetary Society is founded in Liverpool.


Wiley Post sets new record for around-the-world flight of 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes


Drive-in movie theater opens in Camden, New Jersey.


Louis Ce Corlieu patents the first swim fins.


Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Car.


1933-1934: World’s Fair, Chicago – A Century of Progress



Puget Power created out of anti-trust break up of Stone & Webster.


The Great Depression hits home, and Washington State unemployment crests at 40%. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt combats unemployment with the "alphabet soup" of public works programs.


AAA directional signs aided motorists before the State takes over the job in 1934.


WA Highway Department establishes the first truck weighing stations.


New York: Transport Workers Union of America founded


President Franklin D. Roosevelt cancels all airmail contracts and instructs the Army Air Corps to carry the mail.


Jean and Jeannette Piccard take the Century of Progress to 58,000 feet. She is the first woman to reach the stratosphere.


Wurlitzer and Seeburg make eye-catching jukeboxes.


In Germany, a mobile television truck roams the streets, catches Nazi rally.


Half of the homes in the U.S. have radios.


William Beebe and Otis Barton descend 3,028 feet (923 meters) in a bathysphere. 


Muzak founded.



The Kalakala, flagship ferry of the Black Ball Line, takes her maiden voyage July 3.


Will Rogers and Wiley Post stop at the Renton airport prior to departing for Alaska, where they are killed in a plane crash.


From 1931 to 1935, Malcom Campbell makes and breaks the land speed record five times in Bluebird. On 3 September 1935, he breaks the 300mph barrier, reaching 301.13mph.


Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 enacted requiring most power companies to divest themselves of public transportation operations and elimination of much private public transportation financing.


U.S. Army captains Orvil Anderson and Albert William Stevens climb to a record 72,395 feet in their helium balloon Explorer II. Their record stands for 21 years.


A telephone call goes around the world


Watson Davis proposes mechanized literature searching machine.



Under a cloud of pessimism, FDR’s ERPCC (Electric Railway Presidents Conference Committee) began its research into ways of reversing transit decline by producing in effect a new generation of high performance streetcars in the hope of bolstering the efficiency of the many urban areas suffering from automobile competition. One factor that could not have been foreseen by the ERPCC was action of a dubious nature within the transit industry itself when a pro-bus company acquired control of systems and reversed plans to modernise with PCC streetcars.


Bus manufacturers began to assume control of or influence street railways, leading to rapid replacement of streetcars with buses.


First large-scale federal government public transportation assistance (Public Works Administration).


Jet engine invented by Frank Whittle and Hans von Ohain.


Helicopter invented by Heinrich Focke.


First chair lift for skiers at a brand-new American ski resort, Sun Valley in Idaho


200 television sets, worldwide.


Turing describes a general purpose computer.



Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River completed.


President Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” funnels hundreds of millions of dollars into the state for hydroelectric dams, irrigation, harbors, parks, bridges, and roads.


The State adopts a new Highway Code and creates a Toll Bridge Authority within the Department of Highways to finance high-cost projects through user charges.


Legislature raises speed limit to 50 m.p.h.


Final paving opens four lanes to traffic on Pacific Highway (SR 99) from Olympia to Everett.


May 16th, at 7:25 pm, the German zeppelin Hindenberg, the largest aircraft ever to fly, exploded while attempting to land in Lakehurst, NJ. This signaled the end of the luxury airship era and the first hydrogen age. A recording of the crash is the first coast to coast broadcast.


World’s Fair, Paris


Mexico nationalizes railroads.


Jean Piccard pilots the Pleiades on a flight where 92 balloons carry his gondola


Alan Turing's "On Computable Numbers" starts computer revolution


Electron microscope by Hillier and Prebus


NBC sends mobile TV truck onto New York streets.


Sylvan Goldman invents the shopping cart.



Emil Sick, president of Rainier Breweries, opens Sick's Stadium to house his Rainiers baseball team.


Boeing 307 Stratoliner, the first commercial plane with a pressurized passenger cabin.


Twenty-five Northwest climbers join together to found Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a cooperative to purchase climbing gear.


Ground is broken for the construction of the first floating bridge across Lake Washington.


Chicago: first use of federal capital funding to build a public transportation rail line.


First flight of Graf Zeppelin II.


Nylon, polyvinyl, polystyrene introduced.


Automatic clothes dryer.



Seattle-Everett interurban service ends. Seattle voters vote to retain streetcars but national automakers block needed financing.


First successful helicopter flight.


First jet aircraft, the experimental Heinkel He-178 by Hans von Ohain, flies.


Chicago: first street with designated bus lane.


“Statistical Method from the Viewpoint of Quality Control” by Walter Shewart - the origin of statistical approach to manufacturing quality.


Atanasoff-Berry Computer, first electronic digital computer


Bush constructs prototype Microfilm Rapid Selector (MRS).


Regular electronic TV broadcasts begin in the U.S.



New York World’s Fair

World’s Fair, San Francisco – Golden Gate International Exposition



World War II


The war had profound effects on Washington, spurring development of new aircraft factories, shipyards, dams, harbors, airports, and the Hanford reservation, along with the roads and bridges needed to serve them.


Gas rationing is imposed and maximum speed limits are reduced to 35 m.p.h.


1940: Federal government loans Seattle $10 million to retire streetcar debt and fund new bus and trackless trolley system.


Mercer Island (or Lake Washington) Floating Bridge and Tacoma Narrows Bridge open a day apart in July. The latter collapses during a November storm.


First time bus ridership exceeds street railway ridership in U.S.


San Francisco becomes last surviving cable car transit agency.


Germans begin work on the A4 (V-2) ballistic missile

Battle of Britain begins when Luftwaffe begins attacking shipping in the English Channel and limited bombing against RAF bases


The London Blitz begins


Burma-Shave roadside ads.


U.S. gets first regular TV station, WNBT, New York; estimated 10,000 viewers.


In France, discovery of Lascaux caves reveals fine paleolithic animal drawings.



Grand Coulee Dam completed


United States enters World War II in  December after Pearl Harbor, Hawaii bombed by Japan.


Last Seattle streetcar completes its run and tracks are torn up and sold for scrap.


Under Federal controls, U.S. oil production skyrockets to the point that output during the war roughly equals that of all oil ever extracted from U.S. soil previously. Domestic energy consumption is curtailed by law, with a strict rationing system and encouragement for industry

and citizens to power their businesses and homes with coal instead of oil.


Konrad Zuse's Z3 in Germany is the first computer controlled by software.


New York, NY: first racially-integrated bus operator workforce.



Just months after the U.S. Navy installations at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, are bombed by the Japanese, nearly 13,000 Americans of Japanese descent are evacuated from the coastal areas of Washington State to inland internment camps.

The relocation of Japanese farmers results in a shortage of agricultural workers and the cancellation of Bellevue's Strawberry Festival.


First human-made atomic reaction by Enrico Fermi and team.


German V2 rocket covers a distance of 200 km, first vehicle to break the sound barrier.


By this date, Japan occupies 25% of Earth


Atanasoff and Berry in Iowa build the first electronic digital computer.


Duct tape (the WWII military version) is invented by Johnson and Johnson to keep moisture out of ammunition cases. Because it is waterproof, and made from cotton duck, it is called “duck tape.” The post-war, silver version is renamed “duct tape.”



Hanford Engineer Works built to produce plutonium for the WWI bomb "Little Boy"


Los Angeles: first rail line in expressway median (Pacific Electric Railway).


Colossus calculator/computer by Alan Turning


First electronic computer by Max Newman and T.H. Flowers.


President Roosevelt orders (Executive Order 9412) Federal takeover of railroads to prevent shutdown by labor.


British code breaking machine Colossus cracks Germany's Enigma code.


Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan design and test the first Aqua-Lung.


In the Pearl Harbor salvage operations, navy divers spend about 16,000 hours under-water performing some 4,000 dives.


Naval engineer Richard James discovers that a torsion spring will "walk" end over end when knocked over, and the “Slinky” is born.


The "walkie-talkie" backpack FM radio.



Annual Seattle Transit ridership peaks at all-time record of 130 million trips.


Army returns control of railroads to private ownership.


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs legislation authorizing a network of rural and urban express highways called the "National System of Interstate Highways," but the legislation lacks funding.


The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is formed from GALCIT


Japan begins launching 9,000 balloons carrying small bombs over the Pacific Ocean in the hope that the wind would carry them to the United States.


Harvard's Mark I, first digital computer to be put in service. First programmer of Mark I, Grace Hopper.


First high-fidelity recordings


Lemkin coins term 'genocide'



 First atomic bomb exploded by Oppenheimer and team.


U.S. bombs Hiroshima and Nagasaki to help end WWII.


Dick McAbee buys 105 acres in Crown Hill for development.


On the World War II home front, Seattle industries mobilized to manufacture ships, tanks and planes for war.


Japanese Americans begin returning to their homes, not always receiving a warm welcome.


Team of German rocket designers led by Wernher von Braun surrender to the U.S. Army


Roosevelt meets with King Ibn Saud of Arabia aboard an American battleship. During this meeting Roosevelt and Ibn Saud come to verbal agreement that the U.S. will protect the Saudi regime in exchange for access to Saudi oil. This agreement is still in force in 2005.


Capt. John Mullin "liberates" two German tape recorders; starts U.S. industry.


Arthur Clarke envisions geosynchronous communication satellites.


The entire United States sits by the radio to attend FDR's funeral.


Vannevar Bush conceives idea of hyperlinks, hypermedia..


First bumper stickers in US.



Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno and Toyota team - became key manufacturing strategy of 1970-2002



Highest-ever public transportation ridership (23.4 billion).


U.S. Supreme Court bans racial segregation in interstate transportation.


President Truman (Executive Order 9727) authorizes Federal control of railroads to prevent collapse of transportation system during strike.


First flight of XS01 rocket research plane takes place


McDonnell XFD-1 becomes first jet fighter to take off from and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier


August -- President Harry S. Truman signs The Atomic Energy Act of 1946, placing the newly devised nuclear energy industry under civilian control.


University of Pennsylvania's ENIAC computer by Mauchly and Eckert heralds the modern electronic computer.



First supersonic aircraft, the Bell XS-1, flown by Chuck Yeager, flies 700 miles per hour


Chuck Yeager pilots the X1-A to a record Mach 2.4


Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, the largest plane ever, makes its single flight


Air Force forms Project Blue Book to investigate UFOs


October -- The Atomic Energy Commission begins work on a report investigating peaceful uses of nuclear energy.


Dennis Gabor, Hungarian engineer in England, invents holography.


'Cybernetics' defined by Norbert Wiener at MIT



Washington's first TV station (KING-TV) begins broadcasting in Seattle.


Transister invented by Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain.


President Truman (Executive Order 9957) authorizes Army to operate railroads.


Army terminates operation of railroads


LP ("long playing") record runs 25 minutes per side; old record: 4 minutes.


From RCA: a 16-inch television tube and the Ultrafax system that can transmit one million words per minute.


Soviet R-1 rocket is launched for the first time


Otis Barton descends in a modified bathysphere to a depth of 4500 feet, off the coast of California.



The passenger terminal at Seattle-Tacoma Airport is dedicated.


Major earthquake.


Chicago Federal jury convicts GM of having criminally conspired with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire and others to replace electric transportation with gas- or diesel-powered buses and to monopolize the sale of buses and related products to local transportation companies throughout the country.


Upper stage of a V-2 rocket reaches a maximum velocity of 5,150 miles per hour


Soviet Union tests its own nuclear bomb


The tolls are removed from the Lacey V. Murrow floating bridge, marking the beginning of the suburban population explosion.


Magnetic core computer memory is invented.


Claude Shannon's "A Mathematical Theory of Communication" that defines modern information theory


Birth of US network TV.


RCA introduces 45 rpm record.


Ole Christiansen, a Danish toy maker, invents Legos.


Mao proclaims Peoples Republic of China.




Korean War



The last Lake Washington ferry runs between Madison Park and Kirkland.


Replacement Tacoma Narrows Bridge opens.


Northgate Mall opens.


President Truman orders Army to operate railroads to prevent strike from crippling transportation. (Executive Order 10155.)


From Earl Hilton, the credit card.


Xerox photocopiers roll off the assembly line.


Turing's Computing Machinery & Intelligence.


Cousteau acquires the Calypso.


First TV remote, the “Lazy Bones” from Zenith, attached to set by cable



First Seattle Seafair.


Washington State takes over private Blackball ferry system. Last Kirkland-Seattle ferry ends service.


Peak year for the Roosevelt-commissioned streetcar: 4919 PCC streetcars in operation in North America


Color television sets go on sale.


FCC approves test in Chicago of Phonevision subscription TV, $1 for a movie.


One and a half million TV sets in U.S., a tenfold jump in one year.


Teleoperated articulated arm by Raymond Goertz for Atomic  Energy Comission


Univac I is the first mass-produced computer.


1.5 million television sets in US.


Deepest ocean point found  -- The British ship Challenger II bounces sound waves off the ocean bottom and discovers the Marianas Trench, nearly seven miles deep.



King County voters reject proposed "home rule" charter, which includes regional transit authority; region’s first shopping center opens at Northgate.


ALWEG Monorail: Swedish industrialist Dr. Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren was the first to build a monorail test track after World War II. Wenner-Gren's first system design was geared more towards a high-speed city to city rail system. Seen here is the scaled-down train which attained speeds near 160 km on an oval test track in Fuhlingen, Germany. While impressive in speed and banking capabilities, the ALWEG system didn't find its niche until a later version was developed and unveiled in 1957


Hydrogen bomb created by Edward Teller and team.


Bell X-2 makes first flight, demonstrating advanced lightweight heat-resistant steel alloy; reaches a record altitude of 125,907 feet


First transister radio produced by Sony.


Army returns railroads to private control.


Turing's chess-playing computer program.



First portion of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct between Battery and Dearborn streets opens.


State begins planning the future Interstate 5.


“Seattle missed the boat by Muffing Monorail Project back yonder.” (Seattle Times 12/11/53 S7)


Bellevue incorporates as a city of 10,000.


December -- The Atoms For Peace program is unveiled by President Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower proposed the creation of an international agency devoted to developing peaceful nuclear technologies.


DNA discovered by Crick and Watson.



Alaskan Way viaduct opens.


King County's "Jet Age" begins with the maiden flight of the Dash-80, the prototype of a Boeing 707 passenger jetliner. It is the first of the jet-powered planes to be built at Boeing's Renton plant.


Seattle annexes Crown Hill


First flight of Boeing 707, first commercial jet transport


First nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, launched.


AT&T demonstration of solar cells, at the National Academy of Science Meeting, Washington, DC.


Buckminster Fuller invents the geodesic dome, the lightest, strongest, and most cost-effective structure ever devised.


U.S. shaken by Edward R. Murrow TV documentary on Sen. Joseph McCarthy


Programmable robot by George Devol.


IBM writes a computer operating system for the 704.


Maser by Charles Townes. (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Precursor to the optical laser (1960).


Georges S. Houot and Pierre-Henri Willm  used a bathyscaphe to exceed Barton's 1948 diving record, reaching a depth of 13,287 feet (4050 meters).


Regular color TV broadcasts begin in the US.


TV ad revenue exceeds radio revenue in US for first time.



January -- The Atomic Energy Commission announces a cooperative program between the federal government and the nuclear power industry to develop power plants.


July -- Arco, Idaho, with a population of 1,000, is the first U.S. town powered by nuclear energy.


November -- An experimental breeder reactor about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls, Idaho, partially melts down during a test.


Hovercraft invented by Christopher S. Cockerell.


First major criminal violence against a U.S. airliner-Jack Graham places a bomb in his mother's luggage; 44 people died


U.S. Navy launches Operation Deep Freeze to establish Antarctic scientific bases


Atomic Clock invented by Dr. L. Essen, O.B.E., F.B.H.I. National Physical Laboratory, Teddington.


Tests begin to provide massive digital communication via fiber optics.


SAGE program begins computer-aided-design revolution.


Zenith engineer Eugene Polley invents the "Flashmatic," the first wireless TV remote. It used lights and set-mounted photocells. Tuner would rotate if any bright light hit the TV.



Federal government establishes interstate highway program, authorizing billions of dollars for highways.


WA Department of Highways begins using its first “computer,” an IBM Cardatype, in March 1956.


Skyway Monorail: Monorail, Incorporated built a short test track of their suspended system at Arrowhead Park in Houston, Texas. Each bogie was powered by a 310-horsepower Packard automobile engine. The driver was seated high above the passenger carriage on one of the two bogies. After eight months of testing, the track was dismantled and rebuilt at the Texas State fairgrounds where it ran for many years. Its promoters claimed it could reach speeds of 160 km but no Skyway transit installations were ever built.


U.S. scientific group begins first serious study of an "anti-missile missile"


The first hard disk drive is created at IBM.


Television in 71% of US households.


Ampex builds first practical videotape recorder.


Zenith Space Command TV remote introduced, using high-frequency sound.


Bell Labs tests picture phone.



State Highway Department rejects second Seattle Transit System proposal to incorporate light rail transit in new I-5 freeway design.


Washington Public Power Supply System (WPSS) created to develop Washington's energy resources


Ueno Zoo: Japan in the 1950's was in an all-out effort to improve its transportation systems. The first Japanese monorail debuted at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo in 1957. Basically a modern version of Wuppertal's system, the Ueno line used off-the-shelf parts including rubber tires. Japan would later adopt the Alweg and Safege monorail systems and build more transit monorails than any other country in the world.


ALWEG Monorail: Based on knowledge gained from the original test track of 1952 and subsequent modifications, ALWEG unveiled what has become the most successful monorail system in July of 1957. Located at the same Fuhlingen test sight, this was ALWEG's first full-scale monorail. It caught the attention of Walt Disney, which resulted in the world's attention to the design after Disneyland opened their ALWEG monorail in 1959. Today ALWEG-based systems exist all around the world and many more are in the works.


First Japanese car sold in US.


Sputnik 1 launched by USSR: first manmade satellite.


Sputnik 2 carries a dog, Laika, on a one-way space journey.


U.S. attempts to launch the Vanguard satellite but fails


National Association of Rocketry, the largest hobbyist group dedicated to building working model rockets, is formed


Project Skyhook balloon lifts the first balloon-borne telescope.


Hoffman Electronics achieved 8-percent efficient solar cells.


September -- President Eisenhower signs the Price-Anderson Act, which will protect private citizens, public utilities, and contractors from incurring financial hardship in the event of an accident at a nuclear power plant.


October -- The Windscale plutonium production reactor catches fire spreading approximately 20,000 curies of radioactive iodine across Great Britain and northern Europe.


December -- Shippingport, Pennsylvania is the site of the first full-scale nuclear power plant in the U.S. The plant was able to generate 60 megawatts of electricity after reaching full power 21 days after going on-line.


FORTRAN becomes the first high-level computer programming language.


LISP programming language by John McCarthy -- first step towards artifical intelligence.



Suburban voters reject first "Metro" plan that includes transit service, but approve second plan limited to waste treatment.


World’s Fair, Brussels, Belgium – Expo ’58


SAFEGE Monorail: In 1957, the eminent French bridge builder Lucien Chadenson became interested in the Bennie Railplane experimental line. Also impressed by the Paris Metro Route 11, which uses rubber tires, he decided to combine the two principles. The result was a suspended monorail in which the bogies are protected from weather conditions inside a steel or concrete box-beam above the train. The test track operated for many years in Chateauneuf, south of Paris. Film buffs may recognize it from the sixties classic "Fahrenheit 451."


“Speedy Monorail line for World’s Fair here discussed.” (Seattle Times 4/2/58 S7)

“Monorail routes may be studied.” (ST 4/4/58 S7)

“Fair Monorail offered for $5,385,240.” ( ST 7/10/58 S7)

“Monorail Inc. proposes 3.5 mile system” (Transit News July,1958)


Authority to allow railroads to discontinue commuter passenger service transferred from states to U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission.


NASA established


First communications satellite, SCORE, launched by USA


Number of drive-in theaters in U.S. peaks near 5,000.


Laser invented at Bell Labs.


Seymour Cray at Control Data builds a transistorized computer.


Defense Department creates ARPA, forerunner of the Internet.


Physicist Werner Heisenberg explains his uncertainty principle.


USS Nautilus successfully passes under the North Pole. First Submarine ever to cross over the top of the world.


Great Leap Forward in China results in death of 20 million people.



On the 50th anniversary of the original Ocean to Ocean contest, the Ford Motor Company commemorated its 1909 “victory” with a highly publicized “re-enactment” of the run to Seattle.


“Advisors Cite Monorail Advisability” (Seattle Times 1/30/59 S7)

“Monorail with radical power idea proposed for Exposition” (ST 2/24/59 S7)

“Transit to have Monorail line; Lockheed to erect.” (Transit News April 1959)

“Lockheed system to be chosen.” (ST $/29/59 S7)

“Talks on Monorail financing planned.” (ST 4/30/59 S7)

“Proposed Gyro-Glide Monorail for 1961 exposition in Seattle” (Mass Transportation, May 1959, pp.10-12)

“Monorail for Seattle still uncertain. No Seattle Transit funds will be used.” (Municipal News 6/20/59 p.20)


Marcus Whitman Junior High School built, Crown Hill.


Disneyland/Alweg Monorail: No monorail in history captured the attention of the public quite like Walt Disney's Alweg Monorail did when it opened in 1959. The result would be the unfortunate type-casting of monorails being "theme park rides," except in Japan. Later versions of the Disneyland monorail improved on the Alweg system and in 1971 a larger dual-rail system was built in Florida at Walt Disney World.


Pan American World Airways begins Seattle-Tacoma Airport's first regularly scheduled jet service.


Soviet Luna 2 becomes first satellite to reach the Moon


Integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments.


Hoffman Electronics achieves 10-percent efficient, commercially available solar cells.


Post Office tries, abandons effort to move mail by submarine-fired missiles.


Physicist Richard Feynman delivers his "Plenty of room at the bottom" talk that introduces the concept of nanotechnology.



Seattle population grows to 560,000, while King County suburban areas swell by 43% to 378,000 residents.


First portion of Interstate 5 opens in Tacoma.


“Offer made to Transit System by ALWEG International inc.” (Seattle Times 2/2/60 S7)

“Monorail Problem Shifted (to Century 21).” (ST 3/22/60 S7)

“Century 21 in Monorail Pact.” (ST 12/22&23/60 S7)


Hoffman Electronics achieves 14-percent efficient solar cells.


Echo I, a U.S. balloon in orbit, reflects radio signals to Earth.


Joseph Kittinger sets altitude record of 102,800 feet in the Excelsior III before jumping from gondola and exceeding speed of sound in free fall, length of parachute descent sets another record


Kennedy-Nixon debates draw huge numbers of viewers, voters.


First working laser was made by Theodore H. Maiman in 1960 at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California, narrowly beating several research teams including those of Charles Townes at Columbia University, and Arthur L. Schawlow at Bell laboratories.


Jacques Picard and Don Walsh descended to 35,820 feet (10,918 meters) in the bathyscaphe Trieste.


6,000 computers in operation in US.



WA Legislature adopts Highway Advertising Control Act to remove billboards in March 1961 (four years ahead of National Highway Beautification Act).


“Seattle Previews its Monorail” (Engineering News Record, 3/23/61 p 43)

“West Coast Monopoly on Monorails” (Metropolitan Transportation April 1961 p 23)

“Seattle preparing to demonstrate Monorail rapid transit for World’s Fair.” (Western City Dec. 1961, p 26)


Turin, Italy: The first full scale non-test track Alweg line. It ran at Italia 61, which celebrated Italy's national centenary. Over one and a half million passengers traveled on the line for the short period of the fair. Plans to operate the monorail on a permanent basis and extend it to Moncalieri never came to fruition.


First significant federal public transportation legislation (Housing & Urban Development Act of 1961).


Black box flight recorder invented.


NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, Jr. becomes the first American to fly into space


President John F. Kennedy announces that an American will land on the moon before the end of the decade


U.S. Air Force Major Robert White flies the X-15 research plane over Mach 5


January -- The SL-1 reactor, located at Idaho Falls, goes out of control causing a rupture of the building.


First manned (Yuri Gagarin) space mission launched by USSR.


First electronic game - Spacewars - from MIT


Silicon chips.



Seattle World's Fair – Century 21: Man in the Space Age. Between April 21 and October 21, nearly ten million visitors attend.


Touch-tone phones are a big hit at the Fair.


In conjunction with the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, a 1909 Model T was driven along the 1909 race route, stopping in 85 cities on its way to Seattle. On hand to greet the car at the finish line was William Clay Ford, Henry’s grandson.


“Monorail makes trial run” (Seattle Times 3/4/62 S7)

“Monorail is magic carpet to Fair.” (ST 4/8/62 S7)

“What is Monorail’s future?” (Municipal News 5/28/62 p. 70,75)

“Monorail future uncertain” (ST 6/17/62 S7)

“Monorail Terminal shrinking urged” (ST 11/28/62 p.16)


Seattle's ALWEG Monorail opens for World's Fair.


Most of Interstate-5 completed through Seattle. Its soaring Ship Canal bridge opens.

The 277-mile highway cost nearly $1 million per mile to build.


Voters reject Metro request for transit planning authority.


Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens.


Nihon/Lockheed Monorail: This unique system was invented in the USA and built at a test track in Gifu, Japan. While actually being selected for both Seattle and Tokyo, Alweg later won out for those milestone monorails. The Lockheed design is similar to Alweg in that it uses a concrete beam, but the track and wheels are steel. Two were built for transportation in Japan, yet they no longer operate.


New York: first automated heavy rail line (Grand Central Shuttle).


The Inuyama Monorail opens. It was the first multi-station Alweg monorail in Japan. The Japanese Hitachi Company had been impressed with the Seattle World's Fair Alweg installation and purchased the technology that same year. A little known fact of monorail history is that the Alweg Company sold old blueprints to the Japanese so they wouldn't have the latest improvements made to the system. Even so, Hitachi would go on to install more Alweg-based transit monorails than anyone in the world to this date.


Nara Dreamland amusement park monorail opens in Japan.


Bumble Bee Monorail opens in Santa’s Village, Skyforest, California.


Ranger 4 becomes first U.S. spacecraft to reach the moon


General Motors installs its first industrial robot, a Unimate.


The Telstar satellite sends television across the Atlantic.


Mariner II sends radio signals from Venus.


Light-emitting diode by Nick Holonyak


1962-1975: Vietnam War



Evergreen Point Floating Bridge opens a year late.


Highway I-405 takes shape.


Cinerama Theatre opens.


“Deadline near for decision on Monorail” (ST 3/17/63 S7)

“Trustees take step to save Monorail” (ST 3/29/63 p.1)


Chicago becomes last city with surviving interurban line (Chicago, South Shore, & South Bend Railroad).


Miami Seaquarium Spacerail monorail opens in Florida.


At 407.45mph, American Chris Breedlove breaks the 400mph barrier in his Spirit of America at Bonneville salt flats, Utah. It is the first purely jet-propelled land speed record.


Stratoscope II balloon takes high-resolution celestial photographs and transmits data on planets and stars


From Phillips of Holland comes the audio cassette.


TV news "comes of age" in reporting JFK assassination.


Computer mouse by Douglas Engelbart



First major U.S. government public transportation program (Urban Mass Transportation Act)


“Bullet” Train introduced in Japan with top speed of 130 m.p.h. linking Tokyo and Osaka.


Tokyo/Haneda Monorail opens in time for the Olympics: The Tokyo/Haneda Monorail was the first major system to incorporate the Alweg design and use switches for direction reversal. It has been carrying people from the Haneda airport to a station on Tokyo's main rail loop ever since, safely and at a profit.


Picturephone tested: Disneyland to N.Y. World's Fair. Public dislikes it.


Mariner IV sends television images from Mars.


Ranger 7 is launched, takes more than 4,000 photos of the Moon


Russian scientists bounce a signal off Jupiter.


SEALAB I, begins in July with  a three week stay for four divers at a depth of 193 feet.


McLuhan's Understanding Media describes the global village.


Olympic Games in Tokyo telecast live globally by satellite.


Moore's Law about processing power.


The Beatles pay their first visit to Seattle.



New York World’s Fair.

AMF Monorail at New York World's Fair: In an effort to promote their Safege licensed monorail, AMF installed and operated a one-station I-Beam monorail for the two-year New York World's Fair. The dual-rail system looped around the amusement area. An earlier Disney monorail plan to surround the entire fairgrounds was rejected, probably due to a much higher price tag. While AMF never sold or built any Safege Monorails, this installation was responsible for many of today's enthusiasts first ride on monorail.



Major earthquake in Seattle.


“Transit takes over Monorail maintenance May 1st, when Seattle takes over Century 21 Corp.” (Transit News June 1965 p.1,3)

“Monorail fare to be cut in half June 1st.” (ST 5/19/65 S7)

“Parking lot operator sues over Monorail” (ST 9/25/65 S7)


Metro leader James Ellis calls for "Forward Thrust" to manage growth through regional improvements and transit. Interstate-5 completed between Everett and Tacoma.


Ted Griffin purchases Namu, the world's first captive killer whale, and transports him to Seattle for display at his waterfront aquarium.


King County acquires its first computer.


Craig Breedlove in Spirit of America-Sonic I, travels at 600.601mph on land.


First spacewalk - Alexei Leonov


Gemini 7 and Gemini 6 rendezvous in space


November -- A major electrical power outage in the northeastern U.S. prompts proponents of nuclear power to push it as a necessary alternative energy source.


SEALAB II -- three teams of divers spend 10 -16 days each at a depth of 205 feet (65 meters)


CONSHELF III: At a depth of 328 feet, a six-man team spends 22 days on the bottom of the ocean.


Ford offers 8-track tape players on next year's model cars.


Western Electric uses lasers in industry.


Simon predicts "machines will be capable of doing any work a man can do" by 1985.


The word "hypertext" is coined by Ted Nelson. Non-sequential text can branch.


Ralph Nader's Unsafe at Any Speed attacks Detroit's auto industry.



“Investment firm favors Monorail to two airports” (ST 6/22/66 R25)


Monorail opens at Busch Gardens in Florida, using two propane-fired, air-cooled, aluminum Corvair engines per train to produce the AC power necessary for the electric motors.


U.S. Department of Transportation established.


First direct TV pictures from the moon.


Star Trek begins to be televised


Hughes Surveyor 1 makes first soft landing on the moon


In China, the Cultural Revolution.



First Puget Sound Regional Transportation Plan rules out rail transit in favor new highways and roads.


World’s Fair, Montreal, Quebec  - Expo ’67

Extensive “minirail” monorail system, one loop remains today at La Ronde Amusement Park.


Launch pad fire kills NASA astronauts Chaffee, Grissom, and White


Pre-recorded movies on videotape sold for home TV sets.


Floppy disk by IBM



King County voters approve 7 of 12 Forward Thrust bond issues, but reject 47-mile rail transit plan costing $1.15 billion ($385 million local).


Nine-member County Council and elected County Executive put into place by King County voters.


“Work to begin on Monorail terminal” (ST 1/5/68 S7)

“Youths walk Monorail tracks to Center” (ST 9/26/68 S7)


World’s Fair, San Antonio, Texas – Hemisfair ’68


Cleveland: first rail station at an airport opened.


First Orbiting Astronomical Observatory flies; conducts astronomy from orbit


Apollo-8 completes world's first trans-lunar flight and orbit of the Moon


Supersonic transport (SST)


Magnetic-stripe credit cards.


Intelsat completes global communications satellite loop.


Windows, mouse, keyboard and hypertext coordinated on computer by Douglas Engelbart.


Crick & Watson's The Double Helix



State Legislature authorizes use of MVET for transit if matched by local tax dollars.


The last stop light between Vancouver and Blaine (on I-5) was removed in 1969.


“Expenses covered: receipts reflect ‘normal’ year.” (ST 7/19/69 p.10)

“Monorail trains near 400,000 mile mark.” (ST 10/19/69 p.32)


First flight of Boeing 747.


First men on the Moon. Astronauts send live photographs from the moon to worldwide audience.


When the city's 50-story Seattle-First National Bank Building opens, it is the tallest building in Seattle, and locals describe it as "The Box the Space Needle Came In."


California State Fair and Exposition monorail opens.


The Philadelphia Zoo Safari Monorail opens. It is billed as the first zoo monorail at America's first zoo. Removed in 2002.


Sony brings out 3/4" U-Matic, first videotape cassette editing system.


Television in 97% of US households.


The Woodstock music festival.


ARPANET operating - preliminary to Internet.



Second Forward Thrust rail plan fails amid Boeing Bust, and reserved federal funds are allocated to Atlanta; for the first time, the census counts more King County residents living outside Seattle than within.


Environmental lawsuits are filed to halt construction of Interstate 90 between I-405 and I-5.


World’s Fair, Osaka, Japan – Expo ’70


Boeing 747 Jumbo jet enters commercial service.


Congress passes the Rail Passenger Service Act creating Amtrak, which today serves more than 20 million customers annually on its national network of intercity trains and employs 23,000 people.


“City to offer traffic plan (extend Monorail 1,400 ft.).” (ST 3/13/70)


Thousands of demonstrators leave the University of Washington campus to "take" the Freeway on their way to the Federal Courthouse, in protest against the U.S. bombing of Cambodia.


Fort Walton Beach, FL: first dial-a-ride demand response transit agency.


First monorail to use French Safege system opens in Japan. It still runs 6.6 kilometers, from the Ofuna rail station to the coastal area of Enoshima (20 miles southwest of Tokyo), and has eight stations.


Bar codes.



Expansion of I-90 halted due to inadequate environmental impact statement.


In March, the U.S. Senate rejects funding of the Supersonic Transport. In 1968, more than 100,000 work in local Boeing plants; by 1972, only 32,500 are left.


“26 hurt as Monorail train crashes.” (ST 7/26/71 A1)

“Back-up brake system fails.” (ST 7/26/71 A8)

“Repairs begin on Monorail train.” (ST 8/3/71 C15)

“Damaged Monorail unit to be moved (to transit shops).” (ST 9/24/71 D3)

“Monorail crash victims may now get paid.” (ST 12/7/71 A11)


First federally subsidized intercity passenger railroad (AMTRAK) formed.


Walt Disney World Monorail opens in Florida. Six stations, 23.6 Kilometers.


NASA launches Pioneer 10; first spacecraft to reach the outer planets


Salyut-1, the first orbital station, is launched in Russia; the crew dies on landing


Magic Mountain theme park “minirail” monorail opens in California with three stations.


Intel builds the microprocessor, "a computer on a chip"


Wang 1200 is world's first word processor.



“What do you do with a Monorail?” (P-I 3/10/72 A3)

“Red Monorail train may be out til September.” (ST 4/30/72 B6)

“Dime now buys a ride on Monorail.” (ST 5/25/72 D9)

Monorail raises fare again – 25c as of Oct. 9th.


King County voters approve Metro Transit plan limited to bus service.


Seattle voters scrap R. H. Thomson Expressway and reject Bay Freeway.


King County voters approve 0.3% sales tax increase to allow Metro to take over Seattle Transit and suburban bus companies. County-wide transit ridership at low of 31 million.


San Francisco: first computer-controlled heavy rail transit agency (Bay Area Rapid Transit District).


Public transportation ridership in U.S. hits all-time low (6.6 billion)


A satellite is used for live television transmission.


Landsat I, "eye-in-the-sky" satellite, is launched.


Pong is first electronic video game for TV as an add-on.



Metro Transit introduces "ride-free" zone in downtown Seattle.


“Damaged Monorail car back on the beam.” (ST 3/29/73 A20)

“Monorail’s red train goes back on run.” (ST 6/6/73 B4)


Seattle central alley transit (SCAT), a proposal for automated metropolitan transit, Phase 1 (downtown circulator) / by an association of John Graham and Company, Michael Baker, Jr., inc., Westinghouse Electric Corporation.


Trapped by "stagflation," King County residents endure oil shortages, rising prices, and gas rationing. Transit ridership increases 8%.


State's first acoustical freeway barriers and first “High Occupancy Vehicle” (HOV) lanes are introduced.


Some public transportation service required to be accessible to disabled (Rehabilitation Act of 1973).


Boston, Dayton, OH, Philadelphia, San Francisco, & Seattle become last surviving trolleybus systems.


October -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) votes to cut oil exports by five percent until Israel agrees to withdraw from all Arab territories it occupied during the Yom Kippur War. Failing to achieve that result, Saudi Arabia decides days later to cut oil production by 25 percent and joins with other oil-producing nations in an embargo of oil shipments to the United States, for its support of Israel. An "Energy Crisis" grips the U.S., resulting in price gouging, gas lines and rationing.


Skylab orbital lab is launched


Pioneer 10 flies past Jupiter


Super 8 home movie cameras with magnetic striping for sound.



World’s Fair, Spokane, Washington – Expo ’74


U.S. District Judge George Boldt hands down the decision that Washington's Native American fisherman are entitled to 50% of harvestable salmon, by treaty rights.


OPEC oil embargo spurs Congress to pass National Mass Transportation Act, providing the first federal aid for transit operating costs, and to impose a 55 m.p.h. freeway speed limit (lifted in 1996).


“Fast action hoped for repair of Monorail terminal.” (ST 7/3/74 A4)

“Monorail: fast repair or closure?” (PI 7/3/75 A5)

1.9 million ride Monorail in 1974


Boston, Cleveland, Newark, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, & San Francisco become the last street railway systems.


First federal public transportation operating assistance legislation (National Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1974)


Beaulieu, England Monorail opens: 1.6 km , 2 stations.


Phatasialand Jet Monorail opens at theme park in Brühl, Germany.


NASA launches the first geosynchronous meteorological satellite, SMS-1


UPC bar code scanner introduced by NCR.


Hand held electronic calculator by TI.


The word "Internet" enters the lexicon in a paper by Vint Cerf.


Ted Nelson's Computer Lib.


First molecular electronic device patent filed.



Microsoft founded, major producer of computer software


Harper's Magazine rates Seattle the most livable city in the U.S.


World’s Fair, Okinawa, Japan – Expo ‘75


Last manual telephone switchboard in Maine is retired.


First handheld mobile phone.


BASIC becomes the first programming language for the personal computer.


Kurzweil invents flat-bed scanner.


L5 Society is formed with idea of space colonization


Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, joint U.S. - USSR mission; spacecraft dock in space


Venera 9 sends pictures of the surface of Venus.



Dixy Lee Ray, first woman governor of Washington elected


Authorized by Forward Thrust, the Kingdome opens on March 27, and serves 73,000,000 visitors before its implosion in 2000.


Metro buys 145 articulated diesel coaches rather than ones using natural gas.


Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue, King County and State Highway Commission agree on smaller I-90 with six traffic lanes and two transit lanes, plus landscaping and lidding.


“Monorail as people mover proposed.” (ST 6/30/76 A1)

“Monorail may be extended to Center House, garage.” (ST 6/30/76 A5)

“People mover plan survives judging (convert Monorail to automated transit system).” (ST 9/22/76 A8)


Viking spacecraft land on Mars and transmit first images from the surface


The Apple I. Steve Jobs sells his VW van to raise manufacturing funds.


The Cray-1 supercomputer can do 240 million calculations per second.


Kurzweil Reading Machine.


Viking II sends color photos from Mars.



SAFECO Insurance becomes first employer to subsidize transit passes for its workers.


“Federal funds sought: City wants Metro OK of Monorail extension.” (ST 8/18/77 A9)

“Monorail expansion plan in the works.” (ST 8/31/77 p.4)

“Monorail bid: Only an inquiry.” (ST 10/7/77 A14)


Voyager 1 launched to begin "Grand Tour" of solar system


San Diego: first wheelchair-lift-equipped fixed-route bus.


The Apple II microcomputer is a best seller.


An electronic mail system is developed at the University of Wisconsin.


In Chicago, AT&T transmits telephone calls by fiber optics.


Odetics builds the first computer controlled Walking Robot.


Scientists aboard the deep sea submersible, Alvin, discover and document incredible deep sea hydrothermal vents in the eastern Pacific ocean.



The Seattle school district adopts a mandatory busing plan to racially integrate its schools.


“Turning point for Monorail.” (ST 1/11/78 A12)

“City gets $88,000 for Monorail study.” (PI 1/27/78 A6)

“A modern train that can (and may).”  (Seattle Sun 5/31/78 p.3)

“Monorail spruceup: trains, terminal to get paintjob.” (ST 6/18/78 A1)

“Connection to the conventions? (speculation)” (Weekly 12/13/78 p.4)


Space Invaders, the first video game to reach the mainstream.



King County voters reject plan to "merge" Metro with King County.


Expanded services and high gas prices result in annual ridership of 58 million.


City of Seattle starts Commuter Pool with 21 public vans.


Sick's Stadium is demolished.


The western pontoons of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge were swept away by a storm on February 13, 1979.


In the first railroad line rehabilitation project in the West, WSDOT starts work on a 61-mile spur line between Metaline Falls and Newport.


Federal courts lift injunction on final I-90 construction west of I-405.


“Meeting to review plans for Monorail.” (ST 2/25/79 K5)

“Monorail perks planners interests again.” (ST 3/1/79 B5)

“Probe of Monorail crash (1971) begins.” (ST 5/22/79 A1, 15)

“Monorail brake system to be inspected.” (ST 5/23/79 A14)

“Probe of monorail crash may take months.” (ST 5/30/79 A5)

“Monorail air brakes did not fail.” (PI 6/21/79 A13)


March -- Equipment failures and human error contribute to an accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history.


Sony Walkman tape player


USENET begins.


Sylvia Earle walks on the sea floor at a record depth of 1,250 feet.



Census shows 1.27 million King County residents, of whom 494,000 live within Seattle city limits.


Mount St. Helens erupts on May 18, wiping out much of SR 504 and temporarily closing more than 1,000 miles of state highways.


“The forgotten Monorail.” (Weekly 1/9/80 p.13-14)

“Grant for Westlake Monorail Terminal.” (PI 6/28/80 A2)

“Funds arrive for new Monorail terminal.” (ST 6/29/80 D2)


First successful flight of solar-powered aircraft by Paul Macready.


San Diego: first completely new U.S. light rail transit agency in decades (San Diego Trolley).


President Jimmy Carter signs Staggers Rail Act, deregulating railroads and leading to divestiture of thousands of miles of unprofitable lines.


1% of U.S. homes have VCRs.


Number of computers in US exceeds one million


Sony introduces the consumer camcorder.


Voyager 1 sends back images of Saturn and its moons, one billion miles away.


The Nautilus, the worlds first nuclear powered ship, is decommissioned, after 25 years and almost half a million miles.



Puget Sound Council of Governments (now Regional Council) renews rail transit planning.


Solar Challenger, solar-powered airplane, flies.


First space shuttle, Columbia, launched


Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer invented the scanning tunneling microscope that gives three-dimensional images of objects down to the atomic level. They won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986. It is the strongest microscope to date.


The laptop computer is introduced by Tandy.


21,000 industrial robots in use in Japan v 6,000 in US.


MS-DOS by Microsoft



George Benson’s Waterfront Streetcar enters service (it is extended in 1990; City Councilman Benson also saved the Monorail during the Westlake Center development and championed installation of rails in the downtown bus tunnel).


Replacement Hood Canal Bridge opens to traffic on October 3rd.


World’s Fair, Knoxville, Tennesee


Miami MetroZoo four-station monorail opens.


Sony of Japan and Philips of the Netherlands bring out the compact disc.


USA Today typeset in regional plants via satellite


200 computers connected to the internet worldwide.



Metro approves construction of downtown transit tunnel for new "dual-mode" electric-diesel buses.


“First major refurbishing of Monorail since ’62 is planned.” (ST 4/21/83 D1)


The first Post-Intelligencer newspapers are published on Times presses under the Joint Operating Agreement.


Wah Mee Massacre in Seattle’s International District.


Federal public transportation trust fund for capital projects created thru dedication of one cent of federal gas tax.


TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse) introduced in France, linking Paris and Lyon with maximum speed of 168 m.p.h.


At Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Englishman Richard Noble travels at 633.468mph in Thrust 2, bringing the land speed record to Britain.


Specially built 1-kW, PV-powered car, the Solar Trek, drives across Australia, covering 4000 km in less than 20 days. Later the same year, the car drove 4000 km, from Long Beach, CA, to Daytona Beach, FL, in 18 days.


President Reagan announces development of a missile shield to defend against Soviet ICBM attacks, dubbed "Star Wars""


Audio music cassettes outsell LP records.


AT&T forced to break up; 7 Baby Bells are born.


Number of computers in US exceeds ten million


Time magazine names computer as 'Man of the Year'.



Seattle Commuter Pool and 130 vans transferred to Metro


World’s Fair, New Orleans, Louisiana – Louisiana World Exposition


“Monorail rolls into the ad age.” (PI 2/29/84 A9)

“(Mayor) Rice sees red over Monorail paint job.” (PI 3/3/84 C1)

“Monorail fare will rise to 60c.” (PI 11/8/84 E1)


Dortmund University, Germany: Peoplemover-scale, Safege-style suspended monorail opens.


Transrapid Test Facility opens at Emsland, Germany, to develop and test high-speed maglev monorails.


French and Soviets send Vega spacecraft to Venus and use balloons to study Venus' atmosphere.


Apple Macintosh and IBM PC AT are introduced.


The one-megabyte memory chip.


Laser jet desktop printer by HP.


William Gibson coins term 'cyberspace' in Neuromancer



King County passes first true growth management plan to combat sprawl.


The 76-story Columbia Seafirst Center opens, the tallest building west of the Mississippi, at twice the height of the Space Needle.


“Monorail blunder: Why didn’t they measure it sooner?” (ST 5/21/85 A8)

“City officials talk of junking monorail.” (PI 7/3/85)

“Rice makes Monorail an issue in race for mayor.” (ST 7/9/85 B2)

“Cost of Westlake Monorail terminal triples.” (ST 7/11/85 B1-2)

“Sibonga opposes spending more cash on Monorail.” (PI 7/16/85 A3)

“Funds to repair Monorail denied.” (ST 8/1/85 E1)

“Vote may shut down Monorail for 3 years.” (PI 8/1/85 A1)

“Monorail station funded.” (9/10/85 D2)

“Fund track uncertain for Monorail project.” (ST 10/2/85 B1)


World’s Fair, Tsukuba, Japan – Expo ’85


Kitakyushu City Monorail opens in Japan. This is the Alweg-type system that spurred the Japanese monorail revival.


Voyager 2 starts providing data on Uranus


Microsoft ships Windows 1.0


Martin Green team, University of New South Wales, Australia, breaks the 20-percent efficiency barrier for silicon solar cells under 1-sun conditions.


Average US TV viewing peaks at 7 hours 10 minutes per day.


Worldwide mass communication harnessed for "Aid to Africa" appeal.


In Japan, 3-D television; no spectacles needed.


50 newspapers now offer online access to news texts.


The wreck of the Titanic is found.


Buckyballs discovered



"Incentive Agreement" between Metro, City of Bellevue and Bellevue Downtown Association to develop "Transportation Management Association" and increase transit services is implemented.


Microsoft goes public.


King County, originally named for Franklin Pierce's vice president, William R.D. King, is renamed in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King.


World’s Fair, Vancouver, British Columbia – Expo ’86

Fair’s monorail system was officially opened by William Shatner (Captain Kirk of Star Trek) on August 13, 1987. Transported to Alton Towers, England in 1990, where it now carries passengers from a remote parking lot to the entrance of this popular park.


“UMTA rejects repair fund request.” (ST 1/16/86 D2)

“Monorail needs new tires, at cost of maybe $50,000.” (PI 1/30/86 D1)

“Price of tires deflated.” (PI 2/1/86 D1)

“Royer will offer new plan to save Monorail.” (ST 2/15/86 A12)

“One train Monorail studied.” (PI 2/20/86 A10)

“Seattle gets grant to move Monorail.” (PI 7/25/86 D1)

“Monorail service to stop for two weeks (to complete temporary terminal).”  (ST 9/1/86 B1)


Lotte World (Korea) Indoor-outdoor minirail monorail opens.


Runaway reactions during a test at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor near Kiev, located in the what was then the Soviet Union, causes a series of explosions that rupture the containment structure and send massive amounts of radiation through the Northern Hemisphere.


Shuttle Challenger explodes


Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager land at Edwards Air Force Base in the Voyager, became the first aviators to circle the globe nonstop without refueling; also endured the longest flight to that time


US business uses 2.5 trillion pages of paper.


Number of computers in US exceeds 30 million.


First fiber-optic cable across English Channel activated.


Voyager 2 sends back images of Uranus.


Atomic force microscope (AFM) invented,



Boeing transfers its fleet of 100 vans and 65 vanpool groups to Metro Rideshare.


Clovis Points discovered in an East Wenatchee orchard.


“Bang! Monorail hits wall with shower of glass.” (ST 8/28/87 E1)

“Metro blames driver for Monorail accident.” (PI 11/10/87 A1)


In the 3100-km Pentax World Solar Challenge race across Australia for PV-powered cars, the GM Sunraycer wins by 950-km, with an average speed of approximately 71 kph.


First single-electron transistor created.



Metro agrees to share downtown bus stops with Community Transit for express bus service from Snohomish County.


Legislature creates High Speed Rail Commission to study statewide “bullet train” concepts.


Metro signs "Eastside Action Plan" to increase intra-suburban service among Kirkland, Redmond, Bellevue and other destinations.


World’s Fair, Brisbane, Australia - World Expo ’88


“A tight fit for Monorail and Westlake Center.” (ST 10/20/88)

“New Monorail station may open by November 20th.” (ST 11/11/88 C17)

“Monorail back on track. Westlake Center platform fixed.” (PI 11/11/88 C3)


The Monorail Society founded - advocacy organization and information clearinghouse. Still the best source for all things monorail-related:


The Chiba City "Townliner" monorail opens in Japan. It has 18 stations, is currently the longest suspended monorail system in the world, and it is getting longer.


Sea World - Gold Coast            Monorail opens; Von Roll Type II system with three stations. First monorail in Australia.


Sydney Metro Monorail opens with seven stations (now eight). This Von Roll Type 3 train is Australia’s second monorail..


First B-2 stealth bomber is rolled out


NASA signs formal agreement with 11 nations and ESA to participate in Space Station Freedom


Sony introduces the Pocket Discman.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit? feature film combines live action, animation. Plot deals with conspiracy against electric streetcar line.


First transatlantic telephone call over fiber optics line.


"Hacker" and "Worm" enter the Internet lexicon.


CDs now outsell vinyl records.


98% of U.S. homes have at least one television set.


First transatlantic fibre optic cable completed.


First "designer protein" created.



Commuter Challenge program formed.


In this year of the centennial of Washington statehood, Norm Rice is elected Seattle's mayor, the first African-American to hold that office.


Third floating bridge across Lake Washington (later named for Homer M. Hadley) opens on June 4th.


“Regrettable buys – Monorail ranks right up there (Product of Nazi arms giant, Alfred Krupp).” (ST 2/8/89 B1)

“Monorail finally using Westlake Station.” (ST 2/23/89 A7)


Miami: first completely new commuter rail transit agency in U.S. in decades (Tri-County Commuter Rail Authority).


Broadbeach Monorail opens in Australia: Casino-Hotel-shopping center-beach transit with three stations.


Voyager 2 sends back images of Neptune.


Vacationers can buy single use, throwaway cameras.


The Japanese submersible, Shinkai 6500, succeeds in a test dive to a depth of 21,414 feet (6,527m) in the Japan Trench, the greatest depth ever attained by any manned vessel (that returned to the surface).


Berlin Wall comes down.



State Legislature approves expanded growth management powers and planning for Puget Sound rapid transit system.


Federal Judge William Dwyer rules Metro Council unconstitutional.


Federal Clean Air Act passed.


King, Pierce and Snohomish counties set up Regional Ridematch System.


Original Lake Washington floating bridge sinks during repairs.


The 1.3 mile Metro bus tunnel opens beneath downtown Seattle; today, it accommodates 25% of the city's rush-hour commuter bus traffic.


Virtually all public transportation service in U.S. required to be accessible to disabled (Americans with Disabilities Act of of 1990)


First section (6.6 kilometers) of Osaka (Japan) Monorail opens. Eventually it will be over 50 kilometers long.


Hubble Space Telescope reaches orbit; shows that its mirror was incorrectly shaped


World Wide Web described by Tim Berners-Lee


First commercial provider of dial-up net access


US business uses 4 trillion pages of paper.


The Video Toaster, a low cost video effects tool.



Gulf War One


Local grunge band Nirvana releases Nevermind, which sells more than 10 million copies.


Seattle area congestion rated fourth worst in the nation.


High gas prices push annual transit ridership to 74.6 million.


“Ride a Monorail into a better transit future – new, improved trains could carry commuters across lake.” (ST 2/10/91 D3)

“Fast track to nowhere: In 29 years the Monorail really hasn’t gone very far.” (PI 5/13/91)

“Monorail fare, cost of parking to go up for visits to Seattle Center.”  (Daily Briefing 12/27/91 B3)


Public transportation buses in U.S. subject to strict pollution controls (Clean Air Act of 1990)


Federal government allowed to subsidize its employees' commuting costs.


Chester Zoo Monorail opens in England.


Jurong Birdpark (Singapore) Panorail (Von Roll monorail) opens.


Tampa International Airport automated “peoplemover” monorail opens in Florida as an indoor parking lot connector.


Galileo makes first visit to an asteroid


IBM's first revenue decline in 45 years.


Recordable compact disc drivers, CD-Rs, reach the market. One CD-R, costing maybe 30 cents, holds as much information as 6.7million IBM punch-cards.


Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) written; helps create the World Wide Web.


3 out of 4 U.S. homes own VCRs; fastest selling domestic appliance in history.


Michelangelo is first computer virus to gain international attention.


Carbon nanotubes discovered.



Voters approve King County's absorption of Metro services effective 1994; State completes last mile of Interstate-90 at cost of $1.2 billion.


First section of Spirit Lake Memorial Highway (SR 504) opens on Mt. St. Helens.


World’s Fair, Seville, Spain – Expo ’92

Fair has a Von Roll Type Two Monorail, which is later (1996) moved to Germany to become the Europa Park Express Monorail, running from a remote parking lot to the popular theme park.


France-NASA launch the Topex/Poseidon spacecraft to measure ocean topography; tracks El Nino


World’s Fair, Genoa, Italy – Genoa Expo ‘92



King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties form Regional Transit Authority (RTA, future Sound Transit).


Employers with 100 or more full-time employees implement staff commuting programs to comply with Commute Trip Reduction Law passed in 1991.


Jan. 14th: Simpsons episode, “Marge vs. the Monorail” airs.


World’s Fair, Taejon, South Korea – Expo ’93

Fair’s monorail still running as a tourist attraction.


Window on the World Theme Park monorail opens. First monorail in China.


Public transportation workers in safety-sensitive positions subjected to drug and alcohol testing in U.S.


Transrapid 07 maglev monorail establishes a world record for passenger-carrying maglev vehicles when it reaches a speed of 450 km/h (279mph).


Kodak and Apple produce first digital still image camera for consumers.


IBM posts US$8.1billion loss,


Hubble Servicing Mission corrects curvature of mirror


Rumors fly that cellphones cause brain cancer; sales continue to soar.


DVD invented by Toshiba.


Graphical user interface, Mosaic, is developed for the World Wide Web.


First nanotechnology lab in the US.



Metro becomes King County Department of Metropolitan Services.


Metro's vanpool program tallies 2.7 million passenger trips.


The “Chunnel” opens, linking France and England with rail service and a tunnel for passenger cars.


“Seattle, wake up to the Monorail – quiet, clean, inexpensive. It should be more than a tourist toy.” (ST 6/26/94 B5)


Dick Falkenbury, a Seattle tour-bus driver, draws an X-shaped monorail map and begins gathering petition signatures in a grass-roots movement to build a longer system.


Bangkok, Thailand monorail opens – goes from shopping center to Future World theme park.


U.S. robotic moon mission Clementine is launched


GaInP/GaAs 2 terminal concentrator cell (180X) becomes the first solar cell to exceed 30% conversion efficiency (made at NREL)


The Netscape Navigator replaces Mosaic as a World Wide Web browser.


Internet mass marketing brings "spamming" into the lexicon.



First RTA plan, costing $6.7 billion, fails to win needed three-county majority for new taxes.


530 Metro Rideshare vans in use.


Seattle Public Schools' mandatory busing ends.


Newark International Airport monorail opens in New Jersey.


First mile of Robert N. Broadbent Las Vegas Monorail opens in Nevada.


NASA begins the X-33 experimental rocket


Steve Fossett sets a balloon distance record of 5,208 miles


Astronomer Wendy Freedman tries to determine the age of the universe using photos from the Hubble Space Telescope


Astronomer Wendy Freedman tries to determine the age of the universe using photos from the Hubble Space Telescope


The FCC allows radio stations to operate with no one there.



The new  Washington State History Museum opened.


Revised "Sound Transit" plan, costing $3.9 billion, passes.


Transportation Commission adopts the State’s first 20-year surface transportation plan.


Rideshare program, coordinated by state and local transit authorities, begins in Thurston, Pierce, King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties.


“Monorail proposal stays on track – measure should be on Fall 1997 ballot.” (ST 11/13/96 B3)


Barra Shopping Center Monorail opens with three stations, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.          


Mars Global Surveyor launches; first "better, faster, cheaper" spacecraft


The world's most advanced solar-powered plane, the Icare, flew over Germany. The wings and tail surfaces of the Icare are covered by 3000 super-efficient PV cells, with a total area of 21 m2.


45 million Internet users, including 30 million in U.S.


Computer makers sell flat-panel displays.



“Reinventing the wheel: the Monorail Initiative is flaky and unfounded, but it may be Seattle’s chance for a revolutionary transit system that works.” (Weekly 10/22/97 p.18)

“Monorail tries to get on organization track – only 5 volunteers for 12 member board.” (ST 12/20/97 A13)


The Boeing Company merges with its greatest competitor, McDonnell-Douglas.


Jacksonville, Florida’s downtown peoplemover automated monorail opens with eight stations and 4.3 miles of track.


Richard Noble's team builds Thrust SSC and with Andy Green at the helm, it breaks the sound barrier – moving at 763.04 mph on land.


Steve Fossett sets a balloon distance and duration record by flying 9,672 miles in a flight lasting 146 hours and 54 minutes in the Solo Spirit


NASA launches Cassini spacecraft to Saturn


Mars Pathfinder spacecraft lands on Mars; explores planet with miniature rover Sojourner


Zeppelin launches new Zeppelin NT airship.


DVD players and movies are on the fast track to success.


IBM computer defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov.


From Kodak, the first point-and-shoot digital camera.


Pathfinder's Mars pictures released; NASA website gets 46 million hits.


November: The passage of cabbie Dick Falkenbury's Initiative 41 creates the Elevated Transportation Company to develop a 40-mile monorail system in Seattle, and instructs the City Council to get it built. Advocates believe the system can be privately built and operated without tax subsidies.


First DNA-based nanomechanical device created.



World’s Fair, Lisbon, Portugal – Expo ’98


Seattle Monorail gets first new  engines in 36 years.


Washington State Ferries launches its first passenger only ferry, Chinook.


The U.S. Department of Justice and 20 state attorneys general sue Microsoft for violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act.


“Monorail plan – Personal Rapid Transit is the way to go instead of Monorail.” (ST 4/7/98 B5)


First section of Tama, Japan Monorail opens. Eventually it will have over 90 kilimeters of guideways.


Seven-station monorail opens in Shenzhen, China. 


First module of International Space Station is assembled


HDTV broadcasts begin in the United States.


Estimated number of World Wide Web pages: 300 million. Estimated number of Web pages added each day: 1.5 million.


150 million Internet users estimated at year's end, half in the U.S.



State Initiative 695 slashes automobile excise tax revenue for transportation, but does not affect special Sound Transit taxes.


In November, protestors and police clash in the streets of Seattle as the World Trade Organization meets.


“Plan sees 7 mile loop – local firm has big hopes for downtown system.” (PI 5/13/99 B1)

“Monorail’s big need – Clout – get politicos aboard say experts.” (ST 7/28/99 B1)


With state funding and aid, Amtrak inaugurates “Cascades” rail service between Eugene and Seattle, with three new “Talgo” cars.


Restored Cinerama Theatre opens.


Two-station monorail opens at Mirabilandia Ravenna Amusement Park in Savio, Italy.


Two-station Intamin monorail opens at park in Magdeburg, Germany.


Breitling Orbiter sets record for round-the-world balloon trip


China launches first CZ-2F rocket, intended to launch the first Chinese astronauts into space


150 million internet users worldwide (over 50% in US).


Virus after virus attack computers. Melissa is the worst yet.


World worries about Y2K bug; great sums spent to solve the problem.


Mule train still delivers mail down the south face of the Grand Canyon.


The Ikonos satellite can detect an object on Earth as small as a card table.


Molecular-scale computer switch created.



In this year's census, metropolitan Seattle and King County is home to a population of 1,700,000 that is 76% white, 11% Asian, 6% Latino, 5% black and 1% Native American.


Facing resistance from city elected leaders, ETC runs out of funding and disbands.


Top Sound Transit executives resign amid revelations of massive cost overruns.


“Monorail expansion may be dead.” (ST 2/19/2000 A1)

“Backers keep Monorail plan alive.” (ST 2/25/2000 B6)

“City Hall won’t put Monorail on track, but case for expanded service goes to court.” (ST 5/31/2000 B1)

“Stalled Monorail waits for push. Seattle voters will decide Tuesday whether to give it a shove with Proposition 2.” (PI 11/3/2000 B1)


On March 26, the Kingdome is imploded.


World’s Fair, Hanover, Germany – Expo 2000


Sunway City, Malaysia monorail opens.


November: Initiative 53 passes, providing the ETC with a $6 million budget and two years to put a plan on the Seattle ballot.


Russian scientists experiment with an inflatable reentry vehicle


NASA flies the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission to obtain precise altitude data for three-dimensional electronic maps


Concorde crashes near Paris; planes taken out of service


April: the industry crashes.


5.1 billion emails are sent in the U.S.; 8.2 billion worldwide.


Y2K bug tamed, but it was expensive.


Love Bug virus infects 45 million computers worldwide.


US launches National Nanotechnology Initiative.



A severe earthquake near Olympia causes more than $1 billion in damage to roads and infrastructure on February 28th.


9/11 attack on NYC and Pentagon temporarily shut down many transportation systems and lead to intensified security precautions for airports, ferries, railroads, and highways.


“Schell supports new Monorail. Mayor shifts gears on plan for North Seattle.” (ST 8/22/2001 B1)


Tokyo Disneyland monorail opens.


In September the City of Calgary, Alberta announced its decision to use commercial wind energy as the primary source of the light rail C-train's electricity.


NASA's Ultra-Long Duration Balloon program launches test balloons in Australia.


More than 58,000 computer viruses exist.


DVD sales pass VCR sales; 40+ million U.S. homes have DVD.


UK workers spend more time with email than with their children.


Logic gates made entirely from nanotubes.



“Citywide Monorail on track; vote on Ballard-West Seattle route possible this Fall after draft plan is approved.” (PI 6/4/2002 B1)

“Preserve existing Monorail elsewhere.” (PI 6/20/2002 B6)

“Big wheels oil the Monorail campaign.” (PI 9/24/2002 A1)

“Monorail, it’s a go; in nail-biter, ‘yes’ votes finish 868 ahead; opposition to disband.” (ST 11/20/2002 A1)


Aug. 5, 2002 — ETC publishes the Seattle Popular Monorail Plan, which proposes a publicly funded, 19-station "Green Line" through the western side of the city.


Voters face Tim Eyman's Initiative 776 to repeal local auto excise taxes; $1.5 billon Monorail plan; and Referendum 51 to raise gas taxes for $8 billion in state transportation improvements.


Suspended monorail (Siemens Skytrain) connector between a rail station and the airport terminal opens at Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany.


ESA launches Envisat to take simultaneous readings of atmospheric and terrestrial features and contribute to understanding of global change


Found in a South African cave, 77,000-year-old geometric carvings on stones.



Income from a new car-tab tax to build the monorail comes in one-third short of what the agency estimated before the election. The shortfall reignites public debate over whether the project should continue. Tight revenues become one reason for the agency to consider building four of the 14 miles with a single track, shared by northbound and southbound trains, instead of dual tracks. (Another reason is the lesser bulk of having one track rather than two.)


“Two Monorail giants duel for Seattle prize: one system lets you go from car to car, the other is sleeker.” (PI 3/12/2003 B1)

“ Steinbrueck wants Monorail route to avoid Seattle Center.” (PI 9/11/03 B2)

“Groundbreaking for Seattle light rail.” (ST 11/8/03 B1)

“Engineers think smaller for Monorail bridge.” (PI 12/12/03 B3)

“One-track Monorail would save money.” (PI 12/17/03 B1)


Five-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase takes effect on July 1st, to fund $4.2 billion in priority "nickel projects."


Naha Monorail opens on Okinawa.


Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia           Monorail opens - Asia's largest monorail outside Japan, built by Monorail Malaysia.


Fastest maglev train yet, at 581 km/h (363 mph) Japan, MLX01 train (manned).


Fastest rail vehicle ever, at 5,722 mph (Mach 8.6). USA, Holloman Air Force Base High Speed Test Track, unmanned rocket sled.


International piracy of films is rampant.


Estmated 5 trillion unwanted messages set on the Internet.


U.S. law bars telemarketers from "Do not call" phone list.



Monorail leaders believe tourist rides could boost project. They envision scenic Green Line tours complete with onboard movie.” (ST 3/6/04 B1)


March 29— After more than a year of listening to neighborhood comments, the monorail's governing board approves an alignment that places tracks on the west side of 15th Avenue Northwest in Ballard, Second Avenue downtown, and California Avenue Southwest in West Seattle — within 6 feet of some buildings. The route curves through Seattle Center, at the request of theatre and neighborhood groups that opposed putting trains over Mercer Street. A Delridge station in West Seattle is moved to the Nucor steel mill site, instead of next to Longfellow Creek and single-family homes.

 Other features include multiple see-through elevators in each station instead of escalators; bicycle access on all trains; energy-efficient braking systems; and fare gates to ensure each rider buys a ticket. Columns would be as wide as 6 feet, instead of the 3 feet proposed in the 2002 campaign.


“Monorail gears up $2.6 million ad blitz. Move draws criticism, but agency says it needs to spread the word.” (ST 4/16/04 A1)

“Monorail route will go through Center; Council OKs plan that avoids Mercer Street. Park preservationists dealt a setback.” (PI 5/4/04 A1)


May 31— One of two trains on the original 1962 Monorail line catches fire, trapping about 100 riders over Fifth Avenue for a few minutes until firefighters and a rescue train arrive. Fire Marshal John Nelsen says he will require emergency escape catwalks for the Green Line.


“Monorail to sit out tourist season.” (ST 6/24/04 B1)


June 14— The Seattle City Council approves the track alignment in an 8-to-1 vote, after adding several more feet of separation between trains and buildings. One lane of car traffic will likely be removed from Second Avenue so that monorail supports can be built out in the street, not in sidewalks.


“Monorail opening delayed; full start now set for 2009.” (PI 7/15/04)

“Landlords emerge as foes to Monorail.” (ST 8/2/04 A1)

“Monorail to get back on track; Nickels announces plan to restore damaged train, improve safety.” (PI 8/13/04 B1)


August — The Cascadia Monorail Co., a consortium led by Washington Group International, Fluor and Hitachi, submitted the only bid to build and operate the monorail. Contract negotiations begin. Hitachi currently serves nearly a half-million riders a day on six Japanese monorail lines. A second team, led by train giant Bombardier of Canada, pulled out, mainly because its partners were unable to comply with the monorail agency's extremely tough liability rules. The monorail agency also made last-minute changes in the stations and catwalks that caught Bombardier's team by surprise.


“Monorail recall can go to vote, court says.” (ST 9/14/04 B1)

“Monorail to restart by Christmas, but with only one train. The other won’t be back until April.” (PI 12/9/04 B1)

“The old Monorail rides again; the red train reopens to cheers from downtown businesses.” (PI 12/17/04 B1)


WSDOT announces that tunnel is preferred replacement for Alaskan Way Viaduct on December 7th.


Expansion of Robert N. Broadbent Las Vegas Monorail opens in Nevada, with seven stations.


First commercial Transrapid maglev monorail system begins operating between Pudong Shanghai International Airport and the Shanghai Lujiazui financial district. The Transrapid in Shanghai has a design speed of over 500 km/h (310 mph) and a regular service speed of 430 km/h (267 mph).


SpaceShipOne - first commercial manned space flight.


Survey lists cellphones as chief American love/hate object.


Photos by two rover vehicles beamed back from Mars


Some employers use GPS tracking to see if service workers are on the job.



Proposed start of construction, Green Line.

“Monorail agency sues to gain right of way.” (ST 2/2/05)

“Monorail vs. ‘sinking ship’ garage: Supreme Court tussle shapes up over triangle of land downtown.” (PI 3/17/05)


World’s Fair, Nagakute & Seto, Japan – Expo 2005


June 3rd: The Seattle Monorail Project announces a tentative $1.6 billion contract with Cascadia, which is led by Fluor Enterprises and train supplier Hitachi of Japan.


June 23rd: Green Line financing and debt costs balloon to $11 billion over 50 years.


“State treasurer says halt monorail” (ST 6/23/2005)


June 28th: City Council okays South Lake Union streetcar line.


June 30th: Public support for Green Line slipping


July 1st: Financing plan for Green Line abandoned. Project in limbo.


July 5th: Horn and Weeks, two top Monorail officials, resign


July 6th: First in a series of public meetings on the future of the monorail project.


It is widely argued that we have now reached the point of Peak Oil, that extraction and production of fossil fuels will soon begin a slow but inexorable decline, at ever greater cost, both financially and environmentally, at a time when demand is growing faster than ever. This spells the end of cheap oil and major stresses on our oil-guzzling civilization.


July 7th: Oil tops $61 a barrel.


Five-station Intamin monorail system scheduled to open in Moscow.


Chongqing, China: China's first major Alweg-type monorail system, with 17 stations, is scheduled to open. Part of the line is a subway.


Expo 2005 in Seto Japan opens with he Linear Shinkansen Bullet Train System -Maglev monorail service capable of traveling at 500 kilometers per hour.


iPod holds up to 15,000 tunes, but fits into a shirt pocket. Equivalent to the data that could be stored on half a billion IBM punch-cards. – a stack about 31 miles high


US Supreme Court rules that distributors of file-swapping software can be held liable for copyright infringement.


The US government decides to indefinitely retain control of the 13 root servers that direct all internet traffic to the right locations.



Hitachi’s “Sentosa Express” four-station monorail slated to open in Singapore.



Seattle’s famous 1962 ALWEG Monorail scheduled for demolition.


Indonesia's first major Alweg-type monorail system slated to open in Jakarta with 29 stations.



Entire Green Line to be completed?



Two million additional citizens expected to live in Washington.



According to the June 2005 revised financing plan for the first phase of the Seattle monorail system (The Green Line), Seattleites will have finished paying $11 billion for a $2 billion monorail ($9 billion in interest) – assuming that there are still as many or more people driving private automobiles in Seattle through 2055 (to pay the car-tab tax). Plan scrapped in July 2005.